Reader claims it’s controversial to use Milky Spore in Maine

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Regarding the request from the North Turner Presbyterian Church for a supplier of biodegradable take out containers: We at Goodman Wiper and Paper, 120 Mill St., Auburn, 207-784-5779, have many sizes in stock. We stock environmentally friendly cutlery as well. — J. Goodman.

Also, a friend of Sun Spots on Facebook commented that she has seen these products occasionally at the Dollar Tree store in Auburn.

HI SUN SPOTS: Your advice this morning regarding Milky Spore usage for Japanese Beetles is controversial. According to the attached document and previous research I have done, Maine’s climate is too cold for the product to work. Do you have information that states otherwise? I’d sure like to read it. — CB in Litchfield.

ANSWER: CB shared a newsletter from Cornell University Turfgrass Times with an article titled, “Does Milky Spore Disease Work?” The article states: “While spore reproduction can occur at temperatures of 61 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal soil temperatures are between approximately 66 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. As soil temperatures are often below this in the north during the primary grub feeding period, many question the efficacy of the disease in these colder areas. The question remains unresolved, particularly because the nature of the organism makes determining efficacy difficult.” The article is dated 2000.

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Sun Spots asked Eileen Adams, the Sun Journal’s garden columnist who suggested that Milky Spores could help eliminate/control Japanese Beetles, how well the Milky Spores worked in her yard. She replied: “We have noted a decrease in the number of Japanese beetles, but they are still there, unfortunately. Those JB bags that contain the JP scent seem to work fairly well.” Eileen is referring to the Japanese beetle bags that contain a pheromone scent to attract the beetles to the bag where they are then trapped.

Even the use of these bags is controversial as some claim the bags attract beetles from far away, beetles that wouldn’t necessarily even make it to your yard if it weren’t for the beetle bag. Others say they have not noticed more problems in their own yards with the traps and someone even buys traps for the abutting neighbors’ yards. The bag needs to be disposed of and replaced when the bag is full or when the scent stops attracting. A tip for disposing of the bags is to have a plastic bag ready and handy to drop the bag full of beetles in; otherwise you may find beetles flying toward the bag in your hand and landing on you instead of in the bag.

READERS: Sun Spots has received this response regarding the query for native all-white corn:

I read in the Sun Spots column of July 30th that Michael D. was looking for “silver corn.” I think he may have wanted Silver Queen corn which is all white with good-sized ears and tight husks. It is 90-day corn and should be in the farmers’ markets and roadside stands in September. Most garden catalogs, including Johnny’s, carry the seed. — Sincerely, Homer Hinkley in Turner.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com, tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.

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