A: The easiest thing to do would be to suffocate them. Fill a big bucket with water and add a tablespoon of dish detergent. Submerge the pot, with the philodendron in it, into the water. Like most insects, yellow jackets breathe through holes, called spiracles, in their exoskeletons. The detergent blocks the spiracles, thus suffocating the insect.
Q: Last year, Japanese beetles ate my peaches, but this year, a fungus got them. How do I treat it? Phillip Dickson, Hall County
A: This is the exact time of year to think about this problem! The most common fungus that attacks peach trees is called brown rot. Next spring, insects that walk on fruit that fell this year will get fungus on their feet, fly up to the young fruit, and infect it. So right now is a great time to rake up all the rotten fruit that has fallen and dispose of it. Spread a mulch of straw or chips under the tree to make a clean surface come spring. Brown rot can also be spread through the blossoms of a peach tree. Procure some Captan fungicide and make sure your sprayer works properly. Spray the entire tree when you see the first blossoms open. Spray again when half of them have fallen off. This protects the blossoms from brown rot. Your preparations now will yield healthy fruit next summer.
Email Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for his latest tips.