LEWIS & CLARK EXPEDITION 200 YEARS AGO TODAY 12/07/1804

The corps woke up to temperatures of -1 F. The Indians herald news of a bison herd nearby. Lewis and 15 men hunt down 14 bisons. The men are only able to bring back the meat of five of the bison to Fort Mandan. The Mandans and the wolves claim the remaining nine bison.

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BUG INFESTATION IN ARTIFICIAL TREES

Artificial trees contain real pests. A shipment of artificial
Christmas trees with wood trunks came to Michigan with an unwanted pest -- an infestation of Callidiellum villosulum, brown fir longhorn beetle. USDA inspectors detected the pest after a tip from a Saginaw, Mich., consumer who bought the trees (Chinese imports) at an Ace Hardware.

The brown fir longhorn beetle is a threat to arborvitae, cypress, juniper, cedar and other landscape plants. APHIS issued a limited recall for the specific artificial Christmas trees. Purchase order codes are being used as the basis of identifying products for recall. The trees are sold under the brand Celebrations. In 1999, the Minn. Dept. of Ag. discovered the pest in a similar retail product. After the discovery, the department banned further sales of the trees.

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INSECTS AND PEST THAT INVADE YOUR HOUSEPLANTS AND FLOWERS

Unfortunately, it is a fact of GARDENING that if you grow plants, there will always be the possibility of insect infestations.

By taking a few simple precautions, you can lessen the chances of insects attacking your plants considerably.

 Always use clean pots and planters when repotting
 Always use sterile potting soil. Using garden soil can have disastrous effects.
 Isolate any new plants for a month or so, and check them frequently for signs of insects or disease. This also applies to any of your plants that may have been outside for the summer.
 Promptly remove dead flowers or leaves.
 Give your plant a bath now and then with a soft cloth and a little soapy lukewarm water.
 Examine your plants now and then, don't wait for them to start looking sad. Use a magnifying glass to look for mites
 Proper feeding, care and fresh air make a healthy plant which is more resistant to insect problems.

It would be impossible to list every possible insect that attacks plants. The insects encountered the most often are mites, aphids, mealybugs, scale, whitefly, thrips and various soil insects. If the problem is found early enough, it can often be taken care without the use of insectcides. Be sure that you are using the right product for the insect you have. Don't spray your plant once and forget it, check every week for signs of the return of the pest. A single pesticide does not usually kill all pests and repeat applications are usually necessary. When used properly most chemicals are tested and safe to use. If you don't have to use chemicals, DON'T!

The pesticides listed here as remedies have been in use for many years, and are considered as traditional in the nursery and greenhouse industries.

APHIDS are common on house plant insects but fortunately, are easily controlled. Aphids suck sap from the plant and can cause new growth to be stunted and distorted. Aphids may be just about any color and are found on new growth and the undersides of the leaves, usually clustered together in a group. Heavy infestations cover the plants with a sticky honeydew. If you can handle living with Lady bugs in the house, they will take care of any aphid problem for you. Aphids can also be controlled with systemic insecticides.

SPIDER MITES are almost impossible to see with the naked eye. They are extremely small and a magnifying glass is usually needed to see them. They usually attack new leaves and buds. Plants infested with mites lose their green color and appear bronzed or washed out. In severe cases, the mites will form a fine webbing covering the underside of leaves. Once a plant is infested with mites, control will be difficult, if not impossible. Isolate your plant immediately, and dip it or spray it weekly with insecticidal soap. Systemic insecticides are sometimes effective if used soon enough.

Mites can reproduce each 3-7 days, so it is critical that you spray on a daily basis until the problem is under control. Dry air encourages spider mites to breed so anything you can do to increase the surrounding humidity will help you in your 'mite
fight'. Keep in mind that spider mites are NOT insects, so insecticides WILL NOT CONTROL MITES. Be sure that the product you use is listed as being effective against mites, and follow the directions on the label.

MEALYBUGS look like little white tufts of cotton so are often mistaken for a disease. They are normally found on the undersides of leaves or on stems at the apex of leaf joins. The white, waxy coating protects the insects from sprays, making control difficult. Touching each insect with a small brush or Q-tip dipped in alcohol will kill them, but the babies are very small and often overlooked, so a recurrence is possible. Be vigilante! Systemic insecticides are very effective.


The adult WHITEFLY is a small 'white' fly. Their control is made more difficult by the fact that they will leave the plant as soon as you try to spray them. The immature stage of white fly is scale-like and doesn't move, so it is in this stage that you must defeat them by weekly spraying or dipping with insecticidal soap.

SCALE insects often build up to large numbers because they go undetected. These insects are oval, about 3mm in length and look like small brown limpets. Their shell protects them from pesticides which makes their control more difficult. Scales are usually found on stems and the undersides of leaves but can be on top of the leaves. Small infestations can be removed by touching each insect with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Scales suck your plants juices, stunting the plants growth and they secrete a sticky honeydew which attracts ants and other pests. Dormant oil/superior oil is effective in controlling scale. Repeat applications is normally necessary.

SOIL INSECTS are noticed when brought to the surface during watering. Adults and larvae of several insects may fly or crawl around on the soil surface. In most cases they do no real harm to the plant. Large populations can cause wilting and poor plant growth due to minor root pruning. A soil drenching with insecticidal soap will usually solve the problem. Systemic insecticides are usually effective.

The damage done by ANTS is usually indirect and actually caused by the aphids, mealybugs or other insects which they 'farm' for the honeydew. They can however cause damage to the root system of the plant as they burrow to build their nest. A soil drenching with insecticidal soap will usually solve the problem. Systemic insecticides are usually effective.

THRIPS are very small and hard to see. They are light brown, slender insects, who while in the adult stage will fly to other plants when disturbed. They 'rasp' into the leaves to obtain the plants juices, leaving the leaf distorted, with noticeable scars. Spraying with insecticidal soap will usually solve the problem.

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JOKE OF THE DAY

In the back woods of Kentucky, the redneck's wife went into labor in the middle of the night, and the doctor was called out to assist in the delivery.

Since there was no electricity, the doctor handed the father-to
be a lantern and said, "Here, you hold this high so I can see what I'm doing." Soon, a baby boy was brought into the world.

"Whoa there," said the doctor."Don't be in a rush to put the lantern down...I think there's yet another one to come."Sure enough, within minutes he had delivered a baby girl.

"No, no, don't be in a great hurry to be putting down
that lantern. . . It seems there's yet another one in there!" cried the doctor.

The Redneck scratched his head in bewilderment, and asked the
doctor, "Do you think it's the light that's attractin' 'em?"