This week, I will give you a few more things to do in your yard.

As hard as it is to believe, fall is coming. Over the years, I have found that mice begin to look for a winter home in August, and your house may be one of those places.

Mice can squeeze through small openings to get into your home. If you have pipes that come into the cellar or wires from electric and cable, the mice can come into your home.

Traditionally, people have set mousetraps to stop mice from coming into the house. But many people don’t like to handle the traps once they have sprung.

Years ago at a trade show, I found a product called Mouse Magic. This product has pouches that look like large tea bags. The pouches are filled with mint oils that are infused into a carrier. The oils will slowly evaporate over a period of 30-45 days.

Mice don’t like the smell of mint. What you should be doing is placing a packet of Mouse Magic on the sill near where openings have been drilled for wires or pipes. The mice will check those openings from outside. When they smell the mint, they won’t come in through that opening.

You should place packets near the inside top of bulkheads and near the inside edge of both sides of the garage door, too. You will need to replace the packets every 30-45 days to keep the mice out.

Once you get into December, the mice will have found a home outside and you should not need to replace the packets.

By the way, a packet in your car will keep the mice from coming in there, too. Ditto for motor homes that are not being used later in the season. The packets are also great to place around the inside of the summer home when you close up the place for the winter.

If you have azaleas, I would like you to go outside and take a look at the leaves. If the leaves have a white to yellow dotting on the leaves, the azalea may have an infestation of lace bugs.

The lace bug has a life cycle of egg to adult of about 40 days. This means that you can have multiple infestations in a year.

The lace bug does most of its feeding on the underside of the leaf. The adult is tiny, maybe a quarter-inch in size, and it has translucent, lacelike wings.

If you see them or their black eggs, you do need to spray the underside of the leaves. You can use organic or synthetic sprays to control them, but the spray needs to hit the underside of the leaves. A spray application once a month until fall should get this insect under control.

If you put out tick tubes in the spring, now is a good time to do a second application. Many ticks have begun to mature, and they need another blood meal to do that. By putting out a second application, you can knock back their population dramatically.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week. 

Tim Lamprey has worked in the lawn and garden industry for 45 years.