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Perspectives - 2012 August

Extension Perspectives

For the people of Waldo County


Aronia: a new fruit crop for the Northeast

Thursday, August 16                         1:30 to 5 PM                              Highmoor Farm, Monmouth, ME.

Are you looking for a new crop? This field day will help you learn how to grow and market aronia berries. This event is free and open to the public. Contact for more information.


2012 Maine Farm Days

August 22 & 23                                                Clinton, ME                                             Free admission!

The Misty Meadows Farm is on Hill Rd in Clinton Maine, about 4 miles north of the center of town just before you get to the golf course. To get to the farm take Rt. 100 to Clinton where it will be Main St., take a left onto Railroad St. then a slight left onto Hill Rd.

For more information please contact Dale Finseth  or Kennebec County Soil and Water Conservation Dept. at 207-622-7847 ext 3.

Waldo County Executive Committee annual meeting

Monday, September 10, 2012                 6:30 pm                Waldo Technical Center

“School garden programs – successes and challenges”  Public is invited to attend.


Common Ground Country Fair

September 21 – 23, 2012                     Unity, ME                For More information go to:



Jane Haskell Changes Job Position

Jane Haskell has accepted a new position in Orono, where she will continue her most recent work on facilitation training.

Jane first came to Waldo county about 21 years ago, and began her Extension career here conducting educational programing in small business development and managing the county 4-H program.  During that time period, Jane developed several notable programs, such as the mid-coast home-based business conference and a local radio show on WERU devoted to small home based business resources.

More recently, Jane has devoted a considerable amount of time developing facilitation training materials and conducting workshops in Waldo County. Her new job, based out of Orono, will be to utilize these skills throughout the state.

Starting in October, Jane will be housed in Libby Hall in Orono. To reach her at that time, you will be able to call the Orono toll free number 1-800-287-1426 and be transferred.

Good Luck Jane, and thank you for your years of service to Waldo County!

Our County Executive Committee met this spring and helped draft a job description for Jane’s replacement. We are hoping that once we get University approval, we will be able to advertise that position and hire a new staff person focused on Youth development and food systems, especially working with schools on horticulture programs and farm to school initiatives.



Maine Home Garden News

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine Home Garden News is a local resource designed to equip home gardeners with practical information. Monthly updates appear here, listed under Gardening in Maine on this web page.

Subscribe via RSS or they can let us know if they would like to be notified when new issues are posted. To receive e-mail notifications:

Fill out our online form, or Contact Colleen Hoyt at or 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine).

You may also follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter to hear about updates. If you have any questions, contact me.



August is the month to . . .

By Diana Hibbard, Home Horticulture Coordinator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Cumberland County,

  • August is: asters, goldenrod, corn, squash, tomatoes and the 2nd cutting of hay
  • August is: early apples, peaches and peas
  • Pick up news gardening ideas and tips by visiting public gardens or parks in your area. Garden clubs and groups often arrange tours of some of their best gardens.
  • Harvest your garlic saving the best heads for replanting in October. Wait for the bottom 2 or 3 leaves to turn yellow. Dig your potatoes. New potatoes are delicious. Further tips for growing potatoes in your garden next year can be found in Bulletin #2077, Growing Potatoes in the Home Garden.
  • Water newly planted shrubs and trees. It is essential they have enough moisture going into the winter. See Bulletin #2366, Selecting, Planting and Caring for Trees and Shrubs.
  • As areas in your garden become empty, amend your vegetable garden soil by sowing cover crops. These green manures will be turned under to improve the soil tilth and fertility. Oats or winter rye is two good choices.
  • Sow another crop of peas, collards, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Extend the season with successive plantings. See all the ways you can get your garden going earlier in the spring and later into the fall in Bulletin #2752, Extending the Gardening Season.
  • Fertilize peonies. Peonies prefer full sun. Wait until frost damages the foliage before cutting down. Peonies do not need to be divided often, but if you need to move them fall is the best time. Don’t plant them too deep to assure a good bloom.
  • Check out the Plant Hardiness Zone Map for Maine. The success of perennial plants depends on many factors, including temperature, light levels, light duration, and soil, water, oxygen and nutrients. Bulletin #2242, Plant Hardiness Zone Map of Maine.
  • Pay attention to your lawn. This is the best time of year to plant and reseed. Bulletin #2367, Establishing a Home Lawn in Maine.
  • Try a “low-mow” grass to decrease your mowing. For more information, see Bulletin #2166Steps to a Low-Input, Healthy Garden.
  • Pick tomatoes and make spaghetti sauce and salsa and all your favorite dishes. Keep the plants healthy by watering regularly in the early morning and continue to fertilize every 2 weeks. Cut the tops off your indeterminate tomatoes sending energy to help the fruit mature and grow larger. Bulletin #4085, Let’s Preserve Tomatoes.



Ticks in Maine


James F. Dill, Pest Management Specialist Clay A. Kirby, Insect Diagnostician

Description & Biology

The adult tick has eight legs as compared to six of an insect. Ticks can feed on a variety of animals including birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Tick encounters have been increasing recently due to more people getting out and enjoying nature, more landscaping favorable to tick habitat being incorporated into public areas, and the influx and spread of the deer tick. Because ticks are efficient feeders and tenacious once attached, there is potential for transmitting disease. With the increasing incidence of Lyme disease, Mainers should be in the habit of doing tick checks after frequenting tick territory.

As ticks go through their life stages (larva, nymph, and adult), they usually change hosts. The seed or larval ticks will attach to small animals and be dispersed by them. Nymphs will climb up higher plants to latch onto larger hosts. Adult ticks can perch on plants for months waiting for a host to come by. Ticks may also seek out prey by detecting heat and carbon dioxide emanating from a potential host. Adult female ticks can feed for several days up to a month.

On humans, ticks migrate around the hairline, the area behind the ears, or in the armpits. On dogs, they attach to the ear, shoulder, and upper leg areas. It takes five to six hours for a tick to become firmly attached and up to ten days for it to become fully engorged with blood. The female needs a blood meal in order to lay her eggs. Ticks have been known to survive for one year without a blood meal.

The deer tick

The deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is a small tick mostly inhabiting the coastal areas of York and Cumberland Counties. It is capable of transmitting Lyme disease. The early signs of the disease show up as a rash at the bite site and then flu-like symptoms. Untreated cases may lead to arthritic conditions and possible neurological problems. Two factors to keep in mind are that not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease causing spirochete (bacterium) and, a tick must remain attached to the host for at least 24 hours in order to infect the host. For more information on deer ticks and Lyme disease, refer to the Public Health Fact Sheet entitled:

“Lyme Disease in Maine”, available from the Pest Management Office, Forest & Insect Disease Lab and the Bureau of Health.

American dog ticks

The American Dog tick Dermacenter variabilis, also called wood ticks, are larger
than deer ticks and the unengorged female has a whitish shield on its back. This tick
readily attaches itself to humans and is one of the most commonly encountered
ticks in Maine. The highest populations of the wood tick are found in southern
Maine – in Oxford County and surrounding areas. However, ticks have turned up
recently in great abundance in areas north of Oxford County and into Kennebec County. Some wood ticks outside of Maine may carry the organism that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a serious disease that can be transmitted to humans. The symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are headache, fever, and aching muscles two to 14 days after an encounter with a tick. Two to three days after the fever starts, a rash develops on the wrists and ankles, spreading to the palms, soles, and trunk of the body. Wood ticks are most likely to be found in open areas with tall grass or brush. Adults are first noticed in late April and remain too abundant through June. Numbers seem to decline sharply after that, but some occur all summer.

The brown dog tick

The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) is rarely found in Maine. It is transported here from areas south of Massachusetts on pets and occasionally on clothes. Although this species is not likely to feed on humans, it has been found in homes- even on beds. Dogs are the brown tick’s most common host and source of blood meals. This is why the tick is most often found in kennels and pet beds. Rats and mice may also be intermittent hosts. This tick does not overwinter in Maine.


Ticks can be controlled only on very limited basis. The most important consideration is personal pre- ventive measures such as wearing full-length garments that are tight around the wrist, ankle, and neck and treating exposed areas with a repellent. A permethrin-based repellent is available for treating clothes. Adults should check themselves and children immediately after visiting a tick-infested area. If possible, avoid such areas.

Keep brush and grass around your home cut short. Keep stray dogs out. Keep pets out of tick infested areas. Repellent pet collars may help keep pets tick free. Infested pets can be freed of ticks with an insecticide available from pet shops. Outside, pet shelters and areas around the home may be treated with carbaryl, deltamethrin, cyfluthrin, or permethrin. Do not allow pets in the treated area until it has been dry for 24 hours. To remove an attached tick, grasp the tick close to the point of attachment and exert a slow and steady pull. The tick will eventually disengage. Disinfect the bite site.


Pest Management Office
, 491 College Avenue, Orono, ME 04473-1295 Phone: 1-800-287-0279 (in Maine)

Colleen Hoyt, University of Maine Cooperative Extension

75 Clearwater Drive

Falmouth, ME  04105

207-781-6099; 1-800-287-1471 (in Maine)



Honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has been a subject of interest in scientific journals and the popular media since the syndrome first appeared in 2006. Despite numerous and differing claims, nothing has actually been shown to be the cause of the problem.


One or more pathogens remain scientists’ most likely choice as the cause or partial cause. But various viruses and bacteria have had higher correlations with CCD in different parts of the United States and in different countries. Before any pathogen can be legitimately accepted, as the cause science must demonstrate that when it is introduced into healthy colony, CCD results.


A parasite is the other perennial suspect, either by itself or in combination with one or more pathogens. Nosema and Verroa mites remain high on the probable-cause list.

New pests or diseases

Some believe that a previously undiscovered or unidentified pest or pathogen is involved in CCD. But claims that such an agent has been identified have not held up scientifically so far.


There are many classes of pesticides to which honeybees can become exposed. Among those that have been stamped with a “CCD cause” label are the neonicotinoids, like imidacloprid and clothianidin. One issue with making that link is the lack of a matching pattern between neonicotinoids residues on colonies and CCD outbreaks. France, which banned imidacloprid in 1999, and Germany, which along with France banned clothianidin in 2008, still has CCD problems.

Transportation stresses from migratory beekeeping

Pollination-service beekeepers stack colonies on tractor-trailers and transport them thousands of miles during the growing season. For honeybees, orientation to their lives is vital and being regularly relocated must be stressful. Additionally, moving hives around the country may spread diseases and pathogens as honey bees intermingle in the fields. It is possible that such stresses play into CCD, but there is no scientific evidence of it at this time.


Wild honeybees forage on a wide variety of nectar sources. Honeybees used for commercial pollination are mostly limited to one crop at a time, and it is possible that they may suffer nutritional deficiencies that stress their immune systems.

Genetically modified crops

Genetically modified (GM) crops, most commonly Bt corn, have been offered up as the cause of CCD. But there is no correlation between where GM crops are planted and the pattern of CCD incidents. Also, GM crops have been widely planted since the late 1990’s, but CCD did not appear until 2006. In addition, CCD has been reported in countries that do not allow GM crops to be planted, such as Switzerland, German researchers have noted in one study possible correlation between exposer to Bt pollen and compromised immunity to Nosema.

High-fructose corn syrup

Some researchers have attributed CCD to the practice of feeding high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to supplement bee colonies. But there are many reports of CCD occurring in the apiaries of beekeepers who do not feed HFCS Others have suggested a possible connection with HFCS produced from genetically modified corn, combining two popular villains. But the simple management change of not feeding any HFCS does not stop CCD.

Global climate change

Weather changes, such as unusually warm winters, earlier springs, drought, and flooding, can lead to changes in flowering times. Plants may blossom early, limiting nectar and pollen supplies. But bees used for pollination contracts are moved to fields to coincide with flowering of crops. Still, some believe global warming is to blame, if only in part, for CCD.


The level of the air pollutant ozone has been steadily dropping since the early 1990’s. Since CCD did not appear until 2006, the timing doesn’t match for ozone to be related.

Cell phones and cell phone towers

The idea of cell phones causing CCD began with the misinterpretation of a study in which a cordless home phone, not a cell phone, was shown to have some impact on honey bee navigation. The study author repeatedly stated that the phone he tested is nothing like a cell phone and has nothing to do with CCD. But the idea remains popular. One of the most recent “proofs,” (published in Current Science in 2010) claimed evidence suggesting “that colony collapse does occur as a result of exposure to cell phone radiations” while also reporting that the impact of cell phones in both of the test hives resulted in more bees staying in the hive longer-the exact opposite of the definition of CCD. *

Agricultural Research July 2012 Volume 60 #6


Helping Young Children Learn to Love Literacy

From: Children learn from watching what others do. Parents can be great role models to help young children learn reading skills. If parents read and write with children, then children will learn to love to read and write. But if parents do not read and write with children, then children will not learn that literacy is important.

Many parents read books aloud, but forget that there are other ways to encourage children’s emerging literacy skills. Here are some simple ways parents can help young children learn to love literacy.

1. Have books around for children to look at when they want

2. Keep paper and crayons handy for children to draw and write

3. Label some things in the environment so children get used to seeing print

4. Talk about books you read together

5. Sing songs together. Practice the words out loud until children learn them.

6. Let children see you reading newspapers, magazines and books

7. Let children help you write grocery lists, write letters to family, or copy favorite recipes

8. Bring in junk mail and let children open and “read” it

9. Build in times for children to tell stories, and listen with interest

10. Tell them stories told to you as a child

11. Take children to the library. Make choosing a library book a fun event.


On the Trail of the Anonymous Ambersnail

By Craig Anthony, Home Horticulture Coordinator, UMaine Extension, Piscataquis County,

I first became aware of an unidentified ambersnail this past June, when I awoke each morning to find that my eggplant seedlings disappearing one by one. A warrant was issued for the usual suspects to be brought in for questioning, but none quite fitting the description were found in my garden’s jurisdiction. Then, one sunny morning, I came across a likely suspect innocently seeking refuge on the shady side of one of the container plants.

When I arrived at work that day, I came across twenty to thirty members of the same suspicious gang resting beside the raised bed demonstration garden at the UMaine Extension Piscataquis County office. My supervisor mentioned that she had never seen these snails in the garden before this summer. Again, there were telltale signs of vandalism in the garden, yet all of the suspects were relaxing peacefully under the shade of the Mountain Ash tree in their daylily hammocks.

I soon learned that there had been sightings of suspects all over the state — Downeast and all over central Maine. Clay Kirby, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Insect Diagnostician, reported that, “I have been seeing this snail all over the place for the past several years. I’ve seen it in the boonies along the Machias river years ago and in my back yard. It’s got a soft shell. It is probably an ambersnail.”

I had my first ID on the perp, but exactly which ambersnail was it? It has done so well at remaining ordinary that ascertaining its true identity remained a mystery. It became apparent that a thorough investigation was necessary to create a more comprehensive profile of the garden marauder, so we did not, in fact, implicate an innocent garden denizen.

An inquiry to Jeanie L. McGowan, Director of the Nylander Museum of Natural History in Caribou, ME, revealed:

“Yes, it looks like one of the Succinea species to me also. And I agree we are seeing large numbers of these in many areas in Maine. I’ve gotten calls from Downeast and I see them all over central Maine. Unfortunately we’ve never found anyone who can identify which species we’re seeing and whether they are native or introduced. In our collections there is mention of the following specimens that may be your find:

  • Succinea ovalis Gld. Aroostook County, ME.
  • Succinea obliqua Say. Woodland. Common everywhere
  • Succinea avara Say. Common in wet places on lake shores

Fellow malacologist Scott Martin added: There have been six species of Succineid land snails reported from Maine, but probably 2-3 is questionable. Your snail pictures mostly look yellowish-gold to me, which I would ascribe to the common Novisuccinea ovalis, or oval ambersnail, which has been reported from all 16 of Maine’s counties. Catinella vermeta is usually brownish, while Oxyloma retusa is longer and often more inflated at the opening. Technically, you’re supposed to do dissections of the reproductive parts to verify the ID of Succineid, but this can be problematic even for the experts, as the reproductive system does not necessarily look the same throughout the year (and the sex might even change).

The plot thickened when Ken Hotopp, conservation biologist with Appalachian Biology of Bethel, ME, observed: “You are right that it is a type of ambersnail, Family Succineidae. The snail looks like Succinea putris, an introduced European species. There is one native species that size — Novisuccinea ovalis — but it tends to have whorls that are little more “inflated” so it’s less sleek-looking. S. Putris tends to become abundant in summertime in parks, gardens, nurseries, and agricultural areas, sometimes along river floodplains. It gets introduced on plants, shrubs, and probably mulch and landscaping materials.

So for now, it remains an open case until further evidence comes in, but I would have to agree that the suspect is most likely Succinea putris. We had recently purchased bark mulch for the office garden and it had been very wet early this summer, which may account for its sudden appearance at the office garden, but not necessarily for the other sightings.

As for control, the damage was minimal and the snails have all but disappeared in the hotter weather. Some management ideas were generated, but untested, including using slug controls such as iron phosphate baits, mowing or creating barriers of crushed stone or other materials that will slow them down on their way to the garden, or even a “prescribed burn” if the snails are in a limited area.

Clearly, more research is necessary to learn more about this particular ambersnail, why we are seeing such an abundance of them now, and how best to manage their numbers in the future. This writer requests more information from individuals who have encountered this species of ambersnail for a possible follow-up article.


Good Driving Habits for Better Fuel Economy

Gasoline prices have been rising dramatically and here are some reminders of ways to drive more efficiently to reduce the cost of your trips from

Drive Sensibly

Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.

Observe the Speed Limit

While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.28 per gallon for gas.

Observing the speed limit is also safer.

Remove Excess Weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Avoid Excessive Idling

Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. Idling can use a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, how- ever, may increase starter wear.

Use Cruise Control

Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

Other ideas include:

  • Keep your car engine properly tuned and save 4%
  • Keep your tires properly inflated and save up to 3%
  • Use the proper grade of motor oil and save 1-2%

Saving Money at the Pump

  • Check your owner’s manual for the most effective octane level for your car.
  • Shop around by phone app or website to find the best prices or special deals on gas but don’t 
drive too far out of your way for a “good” deal.
  • Consider using your credit card to pay for gas if it offers cash back.
  • Start driving as soon as the car is started. Modern engines don’t need to warm up and may 
warm up faster once the car is operating.
  • Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions.
  • Be skeptical about devices that promise mileage savings. The EPA has tested a number of gas- 
saving devices including mixture enhancers and fuel line magnets and has not found that they 
provide any fuel economy benefits.

For a discussion about a number of supposed tips for buying gasoline such as only buy in the morning or pump slowly or don’t buy gas before or after a tanker truck delivery, go to:



Rabies is on the rise in Maine in part because of the snowless winter that allows sick animals to travel more easily. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention between January 1, 2012 and February 14, 2012, fifteen cases of rabies have been confirmed. In 2011, eight cases were reported between Jan. 1, 2011 and March 31, 2011.

Rabies is a viral disease carried in the saliva, brain and nerve tissue of infected animals. It is most often spread by bites from an infected animal or from the animal’s saliva entering a cut in the per- son’s skin or thought their eyes, nose or mouth. In Maine, the most commonly infected animals are skunks, raccoons, bats, and foxes. Rabies can infect any animal that has hair, but is very rare among small rodents like squirrels, rats, mice, and chipmunks.

The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid contact with wild animals and to keep pets and livestock vaccinated against rabies. If you have or think you have been exposed to rabies, clean the wounds with soap and water for 10-15 minutes, call the Animal Control Officer (for domestic animals) or the Game Warden (for wild animals) and call your Health Care Provider. If you think your pet has been exposed, call your Animal Control Officer and your veterinarian. The animal that attacked will need to be tested and observed to determine if it was carrying rabies.

For more information go to:

Or call:

• ME CDC Disease Reporting & Consultation (24/7)

  • 1-800-821-5821; TTY: 207-287-8016
  • Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory

    • 207-287-2727
  • Department of Agriculture (State Veterinarian)
    • 207-287-3701
  • Local Animal Control Officer

    • Contact your town office or city hall, or local law enforcement agency 
  • Game Warden Service (Weekdays):
    • Ashland 207-435-3231
    • Bangor 207-941-4440
    • Gray 207-657-2345
    • Greenville 207-695-3756
    • Sidney 207-547-5300
  • State Police (Nights and Weekends):
    • Augusta 1-800-452-4664
    • Gray 1-800-482-0730
    • Houlton 1-800-924-2261
    • Orono 1-800-432-7381


Green Bean Salad


1 pound green beans, cut and steamed 4 large potatoes, diced and boiled
2 scallions


2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons vinegar 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 small onion, sliced 1/2 teaspoon oregano Black pepper to taste


1. Place the beans, potatoes and scallions in a medium bowl.

2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Pour over salad. Toss gently to mix the ingredients well.

3. Cover the salad and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Makes 6 servings


 Spinach-Rice Casserole


1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 pound fresh spinach (or other greens such as bok choy, Swiss chard or kale), chopped
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups cooked brown or white rice
1 cup fat-free (skim) milk
1 1/2 cups low-fat cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
Black pepper to taste


  1. Sauté onions and garlic in butter or margarine over medium heat. When onions are soft, add spinach. Cook 2 minutes or until wilted.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread into a well greased casserole dish and cover.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.
  4.  Remove cover and bake 10 minutes.

Makes 12 servings

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