DEAR SUN SPOTS: My husband has planted pussy willow bushes over the years in our backyard. They are beautiful when in bloom. Now that they have passed their peak, the big blossoms are covered with honeybees, hundreds, maybe thousands! We want to mow the lawn around the trees, but I’m afraid of getting stung. Any advice from local beekeepers would really be appreciated.

— No name, Livermore Falls

ANSWER: Those bees are busiest at midday so experts suggest that mowing after 5 p.m. is safest if you have to do it at all. There are areas of my lawn I no longer mow because I decided to embrace the bees. Since then, I also have quite a colony of Monarch butterflies as well and the bees haven’t bothered me at all. I like to think they are showing their gratitude to me for allowing that part of the lawn to go wild. Beekeepers, any suggestions?

DEAR SUNSPOTS: I’ve noticed that many telemarketer calls come from local area codes. In fact recently I returned a call to the indicated local number. A young lady answered and said she had not called my phone. When I asked if her number was the same number that had come up on my cellphone, she said “Yes, it must be a scam,” and hung up.

Twenty minutes later I received a call on my landline that showed both the name and number of another caller. I checked the telephone book and there was a listing with that number and an Auburn address. Do you know if annoying telemarketer calls are originating with local people? If so, shouldn’t they know that many of us are on the Do Not Call Register. Can they get in trouble for making these annoying calls?

— Mary Ann, Auburn

ANSWER: These annoying calls are not from real people nor are they always from telemarketers. They are robocalls, or automated, prerecorded phone messages; spammers, indiscriminant calls to a large number of recipients; sometimes callers to whom you’ve given consent to contact you, especially if you’ve ordered something online; and fraud calls, an entity likely pretending to be someone they’re not and having malicious intent.

Oftentimes, these calls can be made to look like local calls by using numbers that look similar to familiar callers. Some people even report that they get these frustrating robocalls from their own number.

I know it can be very frustrating, but my best advice is to only answer the phone when you recognize the number. Period. It’s a simple solution. It’s your phone and you are in charge of it. You don’t have to answer it just because it rings. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call them back at your convenience.

There are apps for your cellphone that you can use to block these calls one by one. It’s tedious, I know, but it can be done. Your cellphone carrier can assist if you need help.

Another action that helps is to pick up the call, but don’t say a word. Just disconnect. It takes a few tries, but that call will stop. It’s kind of satisfying, too!

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 also be emailed to [email protected].

 

 

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