Consumer Q's: Bedbugs & Foggers; Seashells in the Garden; Georgia Grown Farmer Showcase 6-7-12
Friday, June 8th, 2012
Q: Are over-the-counter indoor foggers a good way to treat for bedbugs?
A: No. Scientific research shows that these total release foggers (aka bug bombs) are ineffective in the control of bedbugs and most other indoor insect pests as well. There are no quick and easy fixes for eradicating bedbugs. In a 2011 study conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, 76 percent of pest professionals cited bedbugs as the most difficult pest to treat. The industry, however, has become adept at treating bedbugs using a host of effective control solutions. If you have bedbugs, consult a professional.
The best (and cheapest) control is prevention. Here are five tips to keep bedbugs out of your home: 1) When checking into a hotel room, examine mattresses, headboards, box springs and other upholstered furniture for spotted stains that could be dried blood or bug excrement. Any hotel can have bedbugs. If you suspect a problem, immediately ask to change rooms. 2) Unpack/check luggage outside after a trip before bringing it into the house. 3) Do not keep luggage stored underneath a bed. 4) Use mattress covers designed to protect against bedbugs. 5) Avoid bringing used furniture, particularly mattresses, into your home.
Q: My daughter found a large beetle in the woods. It is greenish gray with brown spots and is more than two inches long. It has two horns. Is it harmful?
A: It sounds like she found an Eastern Hercules beetle. It is the largest beetle in the United States. Those horns make the beetle look ferocious, but they are not dangerous. However, if you pick one up, it may scratch you with its strong, spiny legs. It will also secrete a foul odor which it uses to discourage predators such as crows and owls. The females do not have horns. The beetles need dead wood such as old stumps and logs to reproduce. They are not an agricultural or forestry pest. Eastern Hercules beetles are an interesting part of our state’s fauna and a favorite of insect collectors due to their large size, attractive coloration and overall impressive appearance.
Q: Is it all right to decorate with seashells in the garden? I have some that a neighbor brought from Florida. I was concerned about the salt.
A: Seashells are Mother Nature’s sculptures and have long been used to decorate gardens and gravesites because of their beauty and because they are symbols of the Resurrection. Rinsing them to remove any salt residue or salty beach sand will be adequate to protect your plants.
Large shells such as conch, whelk, cockle and clam are favorite choices for garden ornamentation. It is a good idea to position them concave side down so they do not collect water and become little breeding reservoirs for mosquitoes. All the shells will eventually fade and be eaten away by the elements and by snails that may visit them to recycle some of the calcium from their maritime cousins.
You can mix a cup of crushed shells with the soil when planting peonies and other long-lived plants that like additional slow-release calcium. Because of sharp edges, use caution with shell pieces that may give you a nasty cut when working in the soil.
Q: When is the Georgia Grown Farmer Showcase?
A: The Georgia Grown Farmer Showcase will be held at the Atlanta State Farmers Market, Saturday, June 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a family-friendly event with entertainment and more than 30 vendors from around the state. In addition to fruits and vegetables, you can shop for meats, cheeses, plants and flowers, jams, jellies, honey, bread and more. For more information contact Paul Thompson at 404-675-1782. The Atlanta State Farmers Market is located at 16 Forest Parkway, Forest Park.
If you have questions about services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, visit our website at www.agr.georgia.gov or write us at 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Room 218, Atlanta, GA 30334 or e-mail us at email@example.com. To learn more about agricultural issues, get garden tips and find sources for flowers, livestock and other agricultural products, consider a subscription to The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin. Subscriptions for Georgia residents are $10 per year. To start or renew a subscription, send a check or money order payable to Market Bulletin at the address above.