October 13, 1995
Unlike the drought years of the late 1980's, this will probably be another year when boxelder bugs are a limited problem. There will, however, be enough boxelder bugs to cause major annoyance for some people. Therefore, now is the time to brush up on boxelder bug life cycle and controls.
Conifers (evergreens) Showing Fall Color I have had many calls in the last few weeks concerning the abrupt discoloration of the interior needles in many different types of conifers. The good news in most cases, is that this is a normal characteristic of many different conifers in the fall, and not some fatal disease.
Judging by the number of calls coming into Hortline this year, Iowans must have grown a record number of gourds. That shouldn't be surprising since gourds are among our oldest and most useful domesticated plants. They vary from the luffa sponge used for bathing and cleaning to the long handled dipper gourds. They are used for everything from bottles to fishing floats, from seed containers to musical instruments.
Yellowjacket wasps are common insects in Iowa that build annual colonies in the ground, or in holes in building walls and foundations. These inner-wall nests are often the source of wasps that will invade the living space within the house, especially in the fall and early winter.