Fruit growers recognize that attention to detail can mean the difference between a crop of high quality apples picked at the proper time and a crop that has reduced market potential. Predicting optimum harvest date in this season following an early and extended bloom is requiring extra attention to detail, even with mid-season varieties that are being harvested now.
There's an up and down to apple seasons, the farmer said, talking on a crackling cell phone as he stood between two tractors in his orchards. If you have a light apple crop one year, chances are you'll get a heavy crop the next, said Ed McDannell, owner of McDannell's Fruit Farm and Market in Arendtsville.
A dry spell in early July left the plants shorter than usual, but last month's rain staved off the bad harvest Joel Newhard feared for both his soybean and corn crops. That's true for most Pennsylvania farmers — state officials forecast a better-than-average harvest.
Organizers of "The Greatest Insect Show on Earth" are planning their biggest event yet. Penn State's Great Insect Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 29 at a new location: the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.
The Federal Trade Commission filed deceptive advertising charges against two marketers of remedies for bed bug infestations, who allegedly failed to back up overhyped claims that they could prevent and eliminate infestations using natural ingredients, such as cinnamon and cedar oil. One marketer also allegedly made misleading claims that its products were effective against head lice.
Jean Amspacher of the first block of Colepepper Road in Shrewsbury said she's been concerned about the possibility of West Nile virus in her neighborhood because of two vacant properties with uncovered pools. She called her municipality, but was told nothing could be done because the land was private property.Tom Smith, the West Nile Virus Program coordinator with the Penn State Cooperative Extension, said swimming pools aren't usually a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Recently, Deb Oerman's grandsons tried to cool down on a hot day in a pool behind her York home. The 5- and 7-year-olds returned inside covered in bug bites. "They've been getting all (bit) up," Oerman said. "Especially the little one. There were so many bites so close together on his back, it looked like one big welt." Oerman suspects the bites came from Asian tiger mosquitoes, which have become a growing problem over the month of August.
The Allegheny County Extension Office has received many calls and e-mails from landscapers and home gardeners wondering what is happening to impatiens this summer. Callers note that affected plants are stunted, yellow and that they look like sticks, with a few yellow leaves hanging on.
An early spring warm spell last March followed by a "normal" April cold snap is responsible for the lack of apples and other tree fruit in the Northern Tier this year, according to growers and experts.
For those weary of hearing about infected mosquitoes, beetles killing elm trees and blight on tomatoes, hold on – a new plague has surfaced. The spotted wing drosophila, often called a vinegar fly, is wiping out whole crops of soft fruits – blackberries, black raspberries, blueberries, sweet and tart cherries and strawberries.
Although sustainable ag proponents didn’t exactly fill a bus the Thursday afternoon of Penn State’s annual Ag Progress Days, the half-dozen farm folks who did tour the university’s dairy cropping and organic pest management plots brought a truckload of questions along to the field.
New training modules are now available to help directors and staff in childcare centers better manage pests in their facilities. The development of these modules was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Children’s Health Protection.
Those conspicuous nests covering tree limbs across the region are home to a familiar pest. Inside their silk tents, fall webworm caterpillars are busy doing what they do best — chomping away at leaves and the tips of tree branches.
The itch of a mosquito bite is one of the common nuisances of summer. But with mosquito populations seemingly exploding this year -- and cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus reaching unprecedented numbers nationally -- it's a good idea to take a few simple precautions to reduce the chances of being bitten, says an urban entomologist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Ten years ago, Centre County might just be receiving notification of the first mosquito testing positive for West Nile Virus. This year, however, the county already has 34 positive mosquito samples from various municipalities, including State College and College, Ferguson, Gregg, Penn, Spring, Walker and Worth townships.
Biocontrols were the “young, exciting science” on display along with showy petunias, tall begonias and succulent portulacas at the horticulture trial gardens field day July 26 at Penn State’s Southeast Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Manheim, Pa.
As a beginning farmer, Sue Pengelly of Misty Knoll Farm in Royersford, Pa., is eager to learn which tools work best for her. “The only problem I have related to tools is that I sometimes buy something based on a friend’s or salesperson’s recommendation, or because of an article I read about it, and later I find out that it doesn’t perform as advertised,” Pengelly said.
When it opens Aug. 14 for its 44th year, Penn State's Ag Progress Days will once again show the many faces of agriculture, bringing together people with a wide range of perspectives on the production of food, fuel and fiber.
If you want proof for how the emerald ash borer can leap across the landscape, check out the latest map from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The small insect, an Asian invasive that was first detected in Michigan in 2002, kills ash trees.
This comprehensive bed bug educational video discusses history of bed bugs, bed bug biology, monitoring and inspecting methods, how to prepare and conduct bed bug treatments.