Q. I made apricot jam yesterday and it is runny. Is there something I can do?
A. Give it some time. It is not uncommon for apricot jam to take two to three weeks to set up.
Q. I have some sort of insect that’s all around the outside of my house, garage and patio. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of them. They are about a half-inch long and grayish black. It looks like there is a bright orange-red “v” on their flattened backs. I have some nice shade from my maple trees and it’s hard to enjoy sitting outside. What are these pests and how can I get rid of them?
A. It sounds like you have a problem with boxelder bugs, although we can’t be sure without seeing them. Boxelder bugs feed on the seeds of boxelders and other types of maple trees with seeds. They don’t hurt the trees, but can be a nuisance. You can spray them with a labeled insecticidal soap product and it will kill those that the soap spray reaches. However, the soap only works on those bugs that are directly sprayed. This means you’ll have to spray again if more appear. Keep in mind that dishwashing detergent that some people use for treating the boxelder bugs is not a soap and can damage any plants that are treated.
Use labeled insecticidal soap from a garden store and follow the label directions. It also helps to clean up any leaf or plant litter piles outside where the bugs like to hide. If the bugs find their way inside the home, use a vacuum to dispose of them. (Squashing them leaves a stain and they smell.)
Q. What does 4-H stand for?
A. Since 1918, the four-leaf clover with an “H” on each leaf has symbolized 4-H clubs. The “H” stands for “Head, Heart, Hands and Health.” Logo colors are white and green with the motto of “Making the Best Better.” 4-H is the largest youth development organization outside the public school system and is delivered through trained volunteers.
It is in every state in the nation as well as many other nations.
Globally, the four-leaf clover is the second most recognized symbol right behind the American Red Cross.
* Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 509-735-3551 or Pasco at 509-545-3511.