That is the question many farmers have been facing the past week. As I mentioned last week, we need sunshine to cure hay. If hay is made before it is dry enough, it can mold or even catch fire. If farmers wait to cut hay, quality goes down. If they cut hay and it gets rained on, it may be okay if it does not lie on the ground too long. If it rains and it is a week or more before it dries out, it will start to mold and rot, then it is lost. Many years we have a period like this and it is not good. We need rain and we need sunshine. It seems we should get one or the other, but lately, we have received neither. So the question many faced on Sunday was to cut or not to cut hay? Which is right and which is wrong? Hopefully by the time you read this, farmers will know the answer and hopefully, they were right.
The number one question that I have received over the last two weeks is “How do I manage the carpenter bees making all of the holes in the wood?”. These are pollinators. So, I usually recommend to discourage the bees and not kill them. Wood that is painted or coated with an oil stain can help, but not always. I prefer using a pyrethroid like permethrin to spray on the wood. As with most insects, they really dislike this and move on and, unfortunately, some may die if they get a big enough dose. Permethrin is found in many insect sprays, especially those made for horse stables and can be found at garden centers and farm stores. You will have to reapply every 10 days until nesting is done and everywhere that you don’t want the bees. You will also have to plug the holes as they will overwinter there in the fall. There are other recommended insecticides. If you would like a list please let us know. Here is a link to our fact sheet on Carpenter Bee management. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2074.html
I thought that I would include a few pictures to help tell the difference between carpenter bees and bumble bees. The carpenter bee on the left has a smooth, black rear end and the bumble bee on the right has a fuzzy, yellow-stripped or black rear end.