Q. How cold does it have to get to kill all the overwintering bugs?
A. Some insects can sustain very cold temperatures and still emerge in the spring. But there is evidence of certain bugs having a minimal population after really cold winters. Like bears that hibernate, insects undergo diapause. They can slow their metabolism and sometimes even increase compounds like alcohols that prevent them from freezing. Diapause can occur at different life stages (egg, larvae, pupae, adult) depending on the species.
Q. I missed the Northwest Hay Expo. Is there another event that I can get current hay information?
A. Yes, there is another meeting that will have excellent topics called the Mid-Columbia Hay Growers Meeting. It will be held at from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Big Bend Community College ATEC Building. Some of the topics include: Understanding and Trouble Shooting Knotters, WSU AgWeatherNet, Increasing Alfalfa in the Dairy Ration, Forage Risk Management Options and the always popular Export Panel. To look at the full agenda and details, go to www.wa-hay.org and look for the Mid-Columbia Hay Growers Meeting or call the Franklin County Extension Office at 509-545-3511.
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Q. I have never used a thermometer to test the doneness of my meats when cooking. Are they really necessary? They seem so cumbersome.
A. Using a thermometer to test the temperature of meats is strongly recommended. Once we convince people to use thermometers, most people comment that their meat tastes much better because it’s not overcooked. It seems when people don’t use something to measure the temperature, they err on the side of safety and overcook products. Yes, some thermometers are cumbersome, especially the old style metal stem thermometer that was the first thermometer available to consumers. Rest assured, thermometers have changed since then. There are some easy-to-use digital thermometers available that are easy to read and measure temperatures very quickly.
Q. I found some dahlia bulbs in the garage that I forgot to plant last spring. Can I plant them this spring?
A. Bulbs are not like seeds. They will not survive out of the ground indefinitely. If you find an unplanted bag of bulbs, plant them as soon as the ground thaws, but know that it isn’t guaranteed they will bloom. Flower bulbs tend to be survivors, but they are not meant to be out of the ground that long. Plant them this Spring and hope for the best!
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.