Questions and Answers with Seth Nagy

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This week I would like to share questions that have been asked recently at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center. I hope you find these questions and answers helpful. If you have specific questions not answered here, please contact the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center directly.

Question: Where can I find a good used tractor?

Answer: Whenever I’m asked about equipment, I first think about tractor dealers in the county. One thing about equipment is it will need work from time to time to keep running. A good tractor dealer can help you keep your machine operational.

There are the obvious online classified sites like CraigsList and Facebook Marketplace.

There is also an often unknown resource to non-farm folks. This is the NC Ag Review. It is a free monthly newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sevices. This is a great resource to keep up with our Agricultural Department. It also has an extensive list of classified farm equipment, poultry supplies, bee supplies, as well as hay and grain, for sale. This is available in print or online.

Question: I found this bug in my car seat. Is it a kissing bug?

Pine Sawyer beetle

his bizarre looking insect is an adult whitespotted sawyer. It is a native pine sawyer beetle. The larvae feed on dead and diseased conifers.

Answer: This is not a kissing bug. This is a pine sawyer beetle, or more particular, it is a whitespotted sawyer. Adult pine sawyer beetles feed on needles and the tender bark of pine twigs. The adults do not damage the tree, but some twig dieback may occur. These are fair fliers and occasionally land on and startle people that maybe in the forest. However, despite their rather bizarre appearance and ability of their jaws to provide a stiff pinch, pine sawyers are harmless.

Pine beetle larvae can be found in conifer trees that have recently been killed, felled, or are in serious decline. They do feed under the bark, and when they get larger, bore into the sapwood and heartwood. They pupate and emerge from the tree as adults to continue the life cycle.

Question: What are the beautiful yellow flowers I see growing in the fields?


– In pastures and hay fields, it is best to control buttercup before it blooms.

Answer: These flowers are bulbous buttercups. Although they look pretty, they are really a weed in pastures and hay fields. Cattle, horses, goats, and sheep will not eat buttercups.

Buttercups are basically winter annual weeds. They grow each year from seed. The seeds actually sprout in the fall. They quietly grow through the winter, and then when the timing is right, they put on a show with their yellow flowers.

I recommend controlling buttercup with the broadleaf weed killer 2,4-D. The best time for control is late winter before the buttercups have a chance to crowd out the grass. A targeted spray on a warm day in January or February gives excellent control.

It’s a little late to use chemical control now that they are blooming. Mowing is a better option.

field full of buttercup

A bucolic field of buttercup flowers.

If you continually have problems with buttercups in the spring, it is time to evaluate your pasture management. Buttercups in the spring are a sign of overgrazing in the fall.

For answers to your agriculture questions, call the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Caldwell County Center at 828-757-1290 or visit us online.