Extension Entomologist Jeffrey Hahn has some tips for homeowners dealing with nuisance pests this spring. Beginning in March, homeowners have been having problems with nuisance insects in their homes, especially cluster flies, Boxelder bugs, and (multicolored Asian) lady beetles. Fortunately, these insects are harmless, although they can be annoying, especially when a lot of them are present. Here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with these insects.
• First, it is important to know that these insects are not reproducing indoors. Because they emerge from their hiding places periodically throughout the winter and early spring, it appears they are laying eggs and their offspring are emerging. In fact, all of the insects you see now entered your home last fall. They hibernate in balls or clusters in wall voids, attics, and similar areas. As the temperatures warm, the insects in the outer layers become active first and then emerge into the living quarters of the home, explaining why they do not all become active at the same time.
After the April we’ve had, May has got to have clearer skies. Let’s hope so, anyway.
We’ll need those clear skies to see Jupiter, Venus and Mercury perform an intricate dance during the second half of May. Jupiter, in the west, is dropping from the sky as Earth leaves it behind in the orbital race; meanwhile, Venus and Mercury are climbing into the evening sky as they catch up to Earth. Mercury, being closer to the sun, is faster and outstrips Venus.
Roses have long been America’s favorite flower. Learn more about growing roses in your landscape and overall rose care at Rose Education Day Saturday, April 27, at the Whitney Senior Center, 1527 Northway Drive, St. Cloud. Registration for this free workshop will take place from 8-8:30 a.m. with three educational sessions beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 11:30 a.m.
Registrants will participate in three presentations by American Rose Society consulting rosarians, Master Gardeners and experienced rose growers. Clemens Gardens Rose Specialist, Stearns County Master Gardener and Granite City Rose Society President, Deb Keiser, will begin the day with, “Basic Rose Care.” Stearns County Master Gardener Joan Andersen will follow with a presentation on, “Using Hardy Shrub Roses in the Garden.” Finally, Deb Keiser and ARS Consulting Rosarian Tom Roi will instruct participants in a hands-on pruning workshop.
Hosted by Benton County Master Gardeners
The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Benton County would like to invite you to attend their final Spring Gardening Seminar. There is no charge to attend and it is open for all those interested.
The seminar will be at 7 p.m. Monday, April 29, at the Watab Township Hall. The Watab Township Hall is located at 660-75th St NW, Sauk Rapids, west of the intersection of Highway 10 and County Road 4 (Pirates Cove Road).
Dakota County Master Gardener JoAnn Sabin will present, “The Seven Deadly Gardening Sins.” No pre-registration is necessary to attend this seminar. Any questions can be directed to the Stearns County Extension office at (320) 255-6169.
State’s Energy Assistance Program funding is still available to help pay heating bills
Low-income households–especially seniors, people with disabilities, families with children–encouraged to apply for benefits
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources wants low-income Minnesotans, especially seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children, to know that grant funds are still available to help pay their heating bills from the Energy Assistance Program (EAP).
“Even though winter may be coming to an end, cold weather will remain for several weeks and many Minnesotans may struggle to pay their energy bills,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We still have funds to help households stay warm and we encourage families and individuals who need assistance to apply.”
Rothman said applications for heating assistance are down about 9 percent this year, from about 142,000 applications this time a year ago, to 116,000 so far this year.
The average energy assistance grant is $500 per household. Households with an income less than 50 percent of the state median income ($42,789 for a family of four) may qualify and those who do, are served on a first-come, first-served basis while funds last. People have until May 31, when the program year ends, to apply for the Energy Assistance Program.
“We want to ensure that our most vulnerable residents are not faced with no-heat situations,” Rothman said. “Research suggests that seniors in particular may hesitate to seek assistance, so we are reaching out to seniors and others in need to access the heating assistance program.”
How to apply for energy assistance
The EAP pays the utility company directly on behalf of eligible households. Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area; Minnesota has 34 local service providers. A list of local service providers and information on applying for the Minnesota Energy Assistance Program is available by calling (800) 657-3710, or (651) 296-5175, or visiting the Energy Assistance section of the Division of Energy Resources website www.energy.mn.gov. EAP is federally funded by the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is administered by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
Other forms of assistance may be available through county social service programs, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies. See www.staywarm.mn.gov, for a list of resources.