Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers recently answered gardening questions and shared the latest information about emerald ash borer, asian longhorned beetle, and vegetable gardening concerns at their state fair booth this past month.
They also shared the news about their Ask a Master Gardener service, a 24/7 email-based question answering service, powered by eXtension’s Ask an Expert. Using the link to their site, Ohio fairgoers can email a question to Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers months later if a garden question or problem emerges.
The Minnesota Master Gardener eXtension “Ask an Expert” form for submitting home gardening questions will get nearly the same questions every year, like clockwork, depending on the month and time of the year. This year, in Minnesota, the Japanese beetle questions coming into Ask an Expert were four times the normal amount, (2009 and 2010 we had 5 and 6 questions, respectively; and this year, 2011, we had 24 questions), continuing into late August.
Japanese Beetle Presence In Minnesota
In Japanese Beetle Q & A University of Minnesota Extension entomologist, Jeff Hahn reported that, as of 2005, Minnesota began receiving noticeably more calls and e-mails on JB. Each year the questions gradually increased and by 2009, Japanese Beetle had been found in 27 counties, primarily in the Twin Cites and the southeast and south central regions of the state.
This trend seems to continue as we’ve seen an increased amount of phone calls and Ask an Expert submissions in Minnesota this year. In 2011 Japanese beetle questions started coming into Minnesota’s Ask an Expert from the second week of July, going into September; with most of the questions coming from the Twin Cities and it’s suburbs.
Why more questions this year?
So why the increase in Japanese beetle questions this year? Are more people noticing Japanese Beetles and asking questions from recent education efforts? Was the cold, wet spring conducive to Japanese Beetle egg and grub development this summer?
As of now, it is hard to pin point exactly why the numbers of questions have increased this year, other than the fact that we know they have continued to increase in Minnesota for several years. As Master Gardener responding to questions through Ask an Expert, we’ll continue to track the incoming questions in future years to help provide more information about Japanese Beetles in Minnesota.
Did you answer Japanese beetle hotline questions this year?
Japanese beetle ranges throughout most of Eastern and Mid-western states, extending into parts of the south, see Japanese beetles in Minnesota for more information. As an Extension Master Gardener, it would be interesting to compare geographical locations or areas to see how the incoming questions compare from hotlines, emails, and “Ask an Expert” from across the different states this year.
We welcome comments below and would enjoy input from our Extension Master Gardeners from different states – did you have Japanese Beetle calls or other abundance pest problems this year?
Patty Citrowske – University of Minnesota Yellow Medicine County Master Gardener