Ladybugs and blooms mean spring

Published 12:03 am Sunday, March 6, 2011

Well we are less than three weeks away from the official first day of spring, but the change is already flooding blessing to our area. Although most of this change is good there are some areas of change many of us could go without. So today let’s look at some of the good and not so good changes we can look forward to over the next few weeks.

Q. Why are lady bugs coming out of my house now?

A. I answered a lot of calls last fall about lady bugs moving inside homes. I also told many of you that if you saw them coming in then you will also see them going back out. This is an annual event for lady bugs.

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They actually are one of our most beneficial insects as they serve us all spring, summer and fall by helping reduce problems with aphids and other garden pests. However when it starts getting cold they must find a source to overwinter that is dry and warm. This is when our homes come into play. Then once the wet and cold winter ends and they begin to warm up in their overwintering location they begin coming out in droves.

Be patient. The good news is the process of them coming out only last a few weeks and once they are gone, they’re gone. The bad news is if you have a few in the house right now it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

We get calls about using pesticides to kill them. I would not recommend this. For one they are very beneficial creatures to our area and if you kill them, then you have thousands of dead bugs in your home that would have gladly left if given a little more time.

Q. What is the big white tree flowering right now?

A. We have several trees beginning to bloom right now but the one that is really putting on a show is the Bradford Pear. The Bradford Pear is usually one of the first trees to mark the coming of spring. They are about 20-30 feet high have a nice uniform plump shape (unless under a power line) and steal the showcase for a week or so every year at this time.

Unfortunately, they don’t hold their flowers long so enjoy them while you can because their white flowers will give way to a new flush of leaves in the next few weeks.

Q. What can I put down on my yard to stop weeds and help the grass?

A. This will be my last yard question for a few weeks. We once again received several calls after last week’s article pertaining to what are some actual product names you can use on St. Augustine lawns.

I told several of you I would give actual product names today I went by Stine’s today (simply because they are closest to our office) to see what actual products were on the shelf. Pennington Centipede and St. Augustine Weed and Feed with atrazine is good product for the grasses mentioned in the name. Scott’s has two good products out now. Scott’s Super Bonus S is a weed and feed with a good complete fertilizer mixed with atrazine to reduce weeds and provide nutrients to the lawn.

However, I like the Scott’s Bonus S Max, it has the same thing as the Super Bonus S but it also has bifenthrin which is a fire ant killer so you get a weed, feed, and ant killer all in one. All these products are on the shelf at the many home and lawn care centers across the Miss-Lou.

David Carter is director of the Adams County Extension Service. He can be reached at 601-445-8201.