What a month: Around Home & Farm


Yes, June was an unusual month for many reasons. My rain gage recorded over 13 inches of rain in three weeks. Plants including my lawn look greener than ever for July. I cleaned up more than 40 gallons of maple seeds from the three silver maple trees in my back yard.

I was glad to have gutter guards installed a few years ago after a hail storm or I would have had to really get serious about cleaning the seeds from the gutters. As it was the +40 gallons of maple seeds were lying on top of the gutters. Some years are worse than others depending on the weather when it comes to seed production and 2015 is one of those years.

Those weird looking insects called earwigs have made their way into our house at will it seems. They have the distinction of commonly thought to get into people’s ears and eat brain tissue. This early “old wives tail” has long since been debunked but their appearance leads one to think all kinds of crazy thoughts as to their purpose in life.

They have pincher like appendages on their rear end which makes for an odd looking insect. These insects actually feed on other insects but will at times feed on plant tissue. I guess I need to check some bottom door seals and replace as needed. For more info on this insect as well as control measures go to: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/pdf/2068.pdf.

While I am talking about insects I cannot forget sowbugs or pillbugs. These tiny 1/2 inch insects have an armored scale body and the pillbugs can roll up into a ball when disturbed. They do feed on plant tissue both living and dead and like earwigs love moisture. Flower beds are full of them.

The other benefactors of the wet weather are carpenter ants (those big black ants) and termites. Both of these insects like moist conditions for their existence but for different reasons. The carpenter ants like moist wood in which to make their nest.

They will devour wood to make their nest but do not eat the wood for food thus the common presence of sawdust. Carpenter ants are usually black in color but can be red or brown as well. They love areas of leaking water from a window, roof or water pipe. Many common species of carpenter ants are more active at night but can be observed in the daytime.

Termites like soil moisture and require it to live and make their earthen tubes as they move unseen around a wooden structure like your house. The earthen tunnels help keep the moisture level in the nest at an acceptable level. They do eat wood for food. They are not normally seen except when wood containing them is disturbed or when the flying forms are seen in the spring. Remember ants have a three part body where a termite has a cigar shaped body without a waist.

What does this mean for you and your home? Keep rain water away from the house foundation by grading the soil so water runs away easily. Keep gutters and drain spouts clean and running and make sure the water is deposited at least five feet away from the foundation of a building.

Keep all bushes and trees pruned away from your house including the roof so the branches do not touch your home and create an expressway for insects to travel. Clean gutters and downspouts will go a long way in preventing water from staying in these structures and making a breeding area for mosquitoes. And of course deal quickly with leaking roofs, water pipes and windows.

The wet weather has also created a great environment for white clover in lawns which will continue to thrive until hot dry weather arrives. Landscape plants like hydrangea are struggling with leaf spot as are many other vegetables and fruits. Sprays are not very helpful once the diseases attack the plants and the wet weather continues.

If you farm you know the havoc the rain has brought with flooded fields of corn and soybeans and for some the replanting only to be flooded again. Making hay has been a real challenge and will be reflected in higher prices for forages this year.

Picnic/scholar winner

The June 27 Farm Forum Picnic-scholarship Fundraiser held at the newly renovated Orchard Lane Banquet Center featured a raffle, auction and donations by over 63 businesses and families to help raise monies for ag scholarships. Although the weather outside was cool and misty the weather inside was warm and friendly which helped promote the fundraising event.

Recognized were the 2015 scholarship recipients which included Alexandra Stickle who will be attending Univ. of Findlay majoring in animal science; Brooke Anderson who is attending The Ohio State Univ. with a major in animal science and McKenzie Brown who will be attending Wilmington College majoring in agronomy or soil science.

Farm Forum

Krista Magaw who is the Executive Director for the Tecumseh Land Trust (TLT) is our July 27 speaker for Greene County Farm Forum. TLT has the goal of helping preserve farmland and special natural areas and currently holds easements on 23,023 acres in Greene, Clark, Champaign and Clinton counties.

The 6:30 p.m. July 27 meeting will start and be held at Union United Methodist Church located at 393 Washington Road, Xenia. Cost of the meal is $10 per person. Please RSVP Paul Ayres before Friday July 24 if you intend to have dinner. No reservations are necessary if you just wish to attend the meeting. For reservations contact Paul Ayres at 937-352-6379 or email him at [email protected]. The meeting is open to the public.

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