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Bees are on her basil

Q:    My basil plants always have bumble bees on them. I am afraid of getting stung so I hardly ever get any use from the plants. Is there a way to get rid of the bees?

A:    The easiest thing to do is to go out in the evening when the bees are not active and cut the blooms from the basil. With no flowers, the bees will have no interest in the plants.

 Q:    I have a culinary type bay tree. I noticed a black coating and white spots on the leaves. What is this? If I need to control it, what is a natural way to do it?

A:    The plant has a type of scale insect on it. The black is sooty mold which will dissolve once the white scale is controlled. If the plant is not too large, you can wipe or spray the leaves with soapy water.

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