Q. When traveling, we like to take food along so we don’t have to eat in restaurants all the time. Do you have some tips for keeping food safe?
A. When traveling in the summertime, you will want to focus on keeping your perishable foods cold. In hot weather (above 90 degrees), perishable food should not sit out for more than one hour. Perishable foods include meat, poultry and seafood; deli and luncheon meats or sandwiches; summer salads (tuna, chicken, egg, pasta or seafood); cut up fruit and vegetables; and perishable dairy products. To keep these foods safe, use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs. Frozen food can also be used as a cold source. A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one. Keep your cooler out of the direct sun by placing it in the shade or shelter.
Q. There is a small bug invading my home and it looks like a little stink bug with stripes. Do you know what it is?
A. It is hard to identify an insect without looking at it. You can bring a sample into the Master Gardener Clinic at the WSU Extension office in Kennewick. However, we currently have a large population of elm seed beetles making their way into area homes. Elm seed beetles lay eggs on elm seeds, and their population peaks in July and August. They pose no threat to other plants or people, but can be a nuisance when invading your home. The best way to control them is to rake elm seeds in the fall and seal small cracks in your home. Spraying an entire yard or landscape with a broad spectrum insecticide has not been effective.
Q. How can I use the weather data on evapotranspiration to guide my irrigation through this hot weather?
A. Evapotranspiration (or ET) refers to the amount of moisture loss from the soil and the plant. If you know how much ET is lost, then all you have to do is replace that amount by knowing how many inches of water to put on in an hour or in a pass with pivot irrigation. WSU has a system of weather stations that report moisture lost at weather.wsu.edu (also available as a mobile app). At this web page, you find the weather station closest to you and it will give you to find the amount of ET lost in the past day or week. More complete help can be found on the WSU Irrigation Scheduler Mobile App — weather.wsu.edu/is/ or at your app store. If you have questions, support is available from Troy Peters at 509-786-9247.
To submit a question, call 509-735-3551.