How to keep chiggers from chomping

GARDEN Q&A

Garden Q&A

June 10, 2006|By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI | JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Once chiggers have bitten you, can they live in the home? How do you get rid of them on your body?

Chiggers do not infest homes; they inhabit high vegetation. To verify chiggers, place a piece of black cardboard on its edge in the suspected area outside. Chiggers will crawl to its upper edge. Only during their three-day larval stage do they bite humans. It's a myth that they burrow under the skin.

Remove them by scrubbing thoroughly in a hot, soapy shower - the sooner done, the less intense the itching. Conceivably, a larva could move from, say, one spouse to another in bed, but they cannot complete their life cycle indoors. For more information, call us or see our online publication on the insects, Chiggers.

Orange galls have spread to the whole canopy of our ash tree. How can I stop it from losing so many leaves?

We are getting many reports of ash rust. This fungus produces raised orange areas on ash leaves. There is no control, but trees should recover. You can rake up fallen leaves. The disease spores will not re-infect your ash this year. Ash rust completes its lifecycle by infecting cordgrass, which grows in marshes.

Checklist

Open up overgrown lilacs by thinning out old, diseased and weak stems, especially in the interior (removing the entire stem from the base of the plant).

Pinch off the flower buds and open flowers on pepper plants until the plants are large and well-established.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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