Wasps build nests in window tracking

GARDEN Q & A

October 07, 2006|By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali | Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,Special to The Sun

When cleaning windows, we found piles of grass and dead insects packed inside the storm windows. What kind of insect do we spray for? Is it in the walls now?

Not to worry. In summer, the grass-carrying wasp frequently makes her nest in window tracking. Sometimes you can spot these little wasps flying by with a blade of grass. The dead insects were tree crickets that she fed her young.

Just clean up the nest and, if you like, plug any holes where she gained entrance to the tracking. No spraying is necessary; these wasps are predators of other insects.

What is the proper procedure to winterize my potted hibiscus? Must they be pruned low and covered with something?

Tropical hibiscus, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, is not hardy in Maryland but can be overwintered indoors. Bring it inside before the first frost. Check carefully for pest insects and wipe them off or spray with insecticidal soap.

Place your hibiscus in bright light, with some direct sunlight if possible. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Wait for early spring to prune. When outside temperatures are consistently warm, you can take it outside.

Checklist

Leave the heads of sunflower plants through the fall and winter as food for birds.

Older needles on evergreens will naturally yellow and drop at this time. There is no need for alarm as long as the remaining needles are green.

Be sure to keep landscape plants, including trees and shrubs, well watered during dry periods this fall.

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 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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