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More Bugs: Soft-shell scale, mealy bugs, spittle bugs, spider mites and cyclamen mites

A number of insects feed unnoticed on houseplants until perplexing changes alert you. Yellowing leaves are often seen as an indication that the plant is hungry and needs a dose of fertilizer. Yellowing leaves can also mean soft-shell scale insects are feeding on your rubber tree, crotons, philodendrons or related foliage plants. In sufficient numbers, these insects can cause leaves to turn yellow and appear deficient in nutrients.
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Fomalhaut glows in the south

Shortly after the sun sets, test your eyes searching for Mars low in the southwest. To the right shines similarly colored Antares, the heart of Scorpius, the gap between the two widening noticeably over the coming week, but they both set before 7pm.
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We may have a week of clean water before Conowingo’s mud plume

We were quite fortunate in avoiding the predicted calamity of Superstorm Sandy. New York and New Jersey did not share our good fortune. The northern winds that blew the whole of the three-day tempest emptied the Bay of water and protected us against the massive storm surge that flooded the coastal areas and created such devastation.
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Bug 1: Wax Scale

One of the problems of moving houseplants outdoors during the summer months is that they often become infested with insects. You’ll want to control those bugs before bringing your plants back indoors.
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Enjoy them at home and at local festivals

Crabs and oysters are the culinary pride of Maryland. As local crab season ends, likely hastened by Hurricane Sandy, the winter oyster harvest has begun, with its variety of oyster celebrations and events.
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No goody bag needed

As the sun sets Friday, see if you can spot Mercury dangling low against the southwest horizon before it too sets within a half-hour. While fleeting, this is Mercury’s best evening apparition. At this point, Mercury is at its greatest eastern elongation, meaning that, as seen from Earth, the innermost planet is its farthest to the east of the sun, in this case 24 degrees....

Not by my math

By now I’m sure you’ve heard the news. The 2012 rockfish spawn was a disaster: the lowest on record.
    Last year’s warm winter followed by unusually low rainfall and high water temperatures in the spring set the stage for a .90 Young of Year count. That number means almost no yearling rockfish survived from this year’s spawn.
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Add witches broom to your ­Halloween hunt

A Bay Weekly reader asked if I had seen an odd-looking pine tree growing on the west side of Rt. 4 about a quarter-mile south of the Patuxent River Bridge.
    It’s a witches broom, and I have been admiring it for at least 10 years. The tree is some 20 feet tall and grows on the edge of the woods about 100 feet from the side of the road.
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Indulge at Whole Foods Apple Fest Family Fun Day

Before Jobs and Wozniak, apples were known for growing on trees rather than revolutionizing technology. This week we consider the older tradition.
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You won’t have to wait 50 years to see the spawn of this comet

It’s been 26 years since Halley’s comet visited back in 1986, and it won’t come this way again until 2062. But each year at this time we get a postcard of sorts from Halley in the form of the Orionid meteor shower, which peaks in the pre-dawn hours Saturday and Sunday.
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