Managing Insect, Diseases, and Animal Pests

What’s causing brown spots on my bush beans?

Question: I planted Jacob’s Cattle bush beans. They germinated well, but now have brown spots on some leaves. I do not see any insects on the leaves. Can you tell me what is causing the brown spots, and the best way to help the beans? Answer: Kate Garland, Horticultural Professional Our team agrees this appears […]

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How do I get rid of aphids on my Elderberry?

Question: I have two elderberries in the back yard, both are three years old. The tall one suddenly got lots of aphids for the first time. Thick clumps of dark purple aphids (with some ants and ladybugs associated). Maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of aphids total (50-75 stalks involved). I sprayed them off […]

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What’s wrong with my zinnia seedlings?

Question: I planted some zinnias as seedlings. They were doing great but now they look like this. They are indoors, I’ve been putting a grill light on them but they seem somewhere between drowned and parched. The other seedlings in different trays seem to be doing just great. Answer: Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Horticulture The […]

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What’s the best way to prune large rhododendrons that were damaged by deer?

Question: The lower 3-4 feet branches of my large rhododendrons have been eaten by deer. Should these branches be pruned as the upper part of the bush just keeps growing taller? Answer: Frank Wertheim, Extension Educator, Agriculture/Horticulture In the photo it appears that the lower branches, while severely eaten back by the deer, still have […]

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What’s the best way to keep slugs from devouring my bush beans?

Question: I want to plant bush beans. Last year they got devoured by slugs. What is the best way to limit or stop the slugs? Answer: Brian Erickson, Sustainable Agriculture Professional/Professional I We have a few great resources when it comes to dealing with slugs. Home and Garden IPM from Cooperative Extension, Slugs and Snails […]

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Will my Baptisia shoots grow back?

Question: I have asked several questions over the past few years about my blue indigo Baptisia plant. I always appreciate your responses. New shoots are just beginning to emerge this year. I have about 12 that I have counted. Unfortunately, my dog just dug in the area where the baptisia grows and damaged about half […]

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Can you help me identify these animal droppings?

Question: I was wondering if you could please help me identify animal droppings? We have found these consistently in our backyard over the last week or two. We have a tall fence enclosing the entire yard so I don’t think it is a dog. There are raccoons and skunk in the area but consulting the […]

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Where I can buy ladybugs?

Question: I was wondering if you sell or know where I can buy ladybugs? It was recommended to us last year to prevent certain microscopic bugs (that I can’t remember) on some of our bushes. Answer: Sustainable Agriculture Professional/Professional I We do not sell ladybugs through extension in Maine. However, here are two great resources […]

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What’s the best way to deter miner bees without killing them?

Question: We recently discovered quite the community of miner bees near our home we recently purchased. They are living within a patch of ground that is about eight feet long and two feet wide between our walkway and our driveway. The entire patch is filled with different miner bee colonies. I know that they are […]

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