April 1, 2003

Lady Beetles and Flies in the Home

The Asian lady beetle and cluster flies (also called attic flies) are two insect species that Iowans have been finding inside their homes in the past few weeks. Actually, these insects have been inside your home all winter. They have spent the winter in your walls or attic, waiting for spring. As warm weather returns these insects become active and begin crawling around, attempting to go outside. Unfortunately, they just as often wander into the living areas of homes.

New Perennials for 2003

Perennials are hot! Their popularity with gardeners is growing by leaps and bounds. To meet the demand for perennials, especially unusual perennials, nursery professionals introduce and market dozens of new cultivars every year. Below is a small sampling of new perennials making it to shelves in garden centers this spring.

Red Stain in Boxelder

Boxelder, Acer negundo, is sometimes identified by a red stain in the wood. The presence of the stain does not seem to harm the structure of the wood. In fact, some people find the stain interesting and incorporate it into woodworking projects. The color of the stain can range from light pink to dark red. When exposed to the light, the color of the stain fades over time.

Growing Squash in the Home Garden

Summer and winter squash are some of the most popular vegetables in the home garden. Summer squash can be eaten raw in salads, stir-fried, steamed, or cooked in various dishes. Winter squash can be baked, steamed, or boiled.