Town manager explains proposed police budget for 2021-22

China town manager Rebecca Hapgood. (photo by Eric W. Austin)

by Rebecca J. Hapgood
Town Manager
Town of China, Maine

The Select Board in conjunction with the town manager spent many meetings over three months reviewing the options for police services for China. All meetings were open to the public. The prior town manager proposed in the prior fiscal year to grow the part-time police force to a full-time department with one 40-hour a week officer and several part-time officers filling the 26 hour a week part-time role.

“We are not defunding the police. There is no ill will and no dislike or distrust of our police. Our officers are an asset to our community when they are available.”
– Rebecca Hapgood, China Town Manager

Both the Select Board and the current town manager reviewed this option as presented in January of 2021 by China Police Chief Johnson. We also asked Chief Johnson for a budget for only a 40-hour a week position. Additionally, we spoke with the Kennebec Sheriff’s Office (KSO) to explore costs on contracting for one full-time 40-hour a week deputy who would work the hours and days we wanted above what is already provided in our county taxes.

The original presentation to the Select Board included this option, because it was less than the cost presented by Chief Johnson. After additional information was presented by KSO like the costs the town would assume to “buy out” an officer from another department to fill this role, I opted to change course. I researched the option of providing police services by KSO at an hourly cost.

Currently, our police budget provides 26 hours of coverage from our three part-time officers. Each of these officers have other full-time employment and only work for China after their regular jobs. Often, there are matters for which we would like coverage during the day. From July 2020 to April 2021, the three officers have worked a combined average of 22.81 hours each month not including the last two weeks which totaled 3.13 hours of service out of the 52 budgeted hours of service.

We are not defunding the police. There is no ill will and no dislike or distrust of our police. Our officers are an asset to our community when they are available. Our goal is to provide the community with the coverage it demands.

The Select Board thoughtfully and meticulously considered the options while keeping your tax dollars in mind. If the budget is passed on June 8 as proposed, we would defer the China Police for a year which would allow us to restart the program in the future, if the proposed option does not meet our needs. The proposed police option for $34,000 provides up to 10 hours of coverage from KSO officers. Prior police budgets amounts were $39,795 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and $40,561 in the current fiscal year. If you have any further questions, please ask. Our website has the sample ballot and other information under the Elections tab.

LETTERS: Not the right time to abandon the China police department

by Robert MacFarland
former chairman China board of selectmen

To the editor:

To the citizens and taxpayers of China, My concerns about the town’s decision to dispose of the town’s police department for a lesser service with the county sheriff’s office.

I have served the town on two full terms as a selectboard member and the chairman for the same boards. I was part of the appointed commission to start the police department structuring over seven years ago if my memory serves me correct. The taxpayers have voted to establish and fund our department so we had local control over the security of the community for its people. We have spent years and a ton of tax dollars on this department, and now we are just going to throw it all away.

The selectboard and town manager are unwilling to put the time and effort into continuing the building and supporting of our local law enforcement personnel and department. We, as a community, have decided to fund and build this safety and security for our town and now we do not even get the opportunity to say if we want to continue the service. They have, along with the budget committee, written it out of the next fiscal budget without asking the taxpayers. I for one has seen the department take steps forward and some back due to the staffing issues. This is a nationwide issue, not just one here in China, Maine.

We have up to this point only budgeted for part time officers and prayed that the full time ones had some extra time to cover our community to keep us safe. We need a full time officer and not just 10 hours a week from a part time sheriff’s deputy. I believe Chief Johnson would make a wonderful full time police officer for our town with his vast time in the law enforcement community and respect from his fellow constituents. Now is not the time to defund the police department.

I urge you to contact the town manager, selectboard and budget committee members to support Chief Johnson as a full time officer before it’s too late. Do not support the county sheriff’s position in the budget.

Let me make this perfectly clear for those who don’t know me. I have no ax to grind with the sheriff’s department. I sat on the budget committee for that board and support their cause 100 percent as with any other law enforcement agency in this state.

Up and down the Kennebec Valley: Granges – Part 6

Victor Grange,

by Mary Grow

Victor and Hinckley

The members of the next Grange to be discussed should be proud to belong to one of the earliest Grange organizations in the central Kennebec Valley area, and one that is still active in its 147th year.

Victor Grange #49 was organized on October 29, 1874, when, the Fairfield bicentennial history says, “a group of men and women met at the home of Mr. James Porter at the top of what is known as ‘Fuller Hill’ in Fairfield Center.” The Grange was incorporated in 1888.

The new Grange started with 29 charter members, 11 of them women. As with the Albion Grange profiled in the April 8 issue of “The Town Line”, at first only farmers could join. By the 1988 publication of the Fairfield history, membership was open to “those interested in farming and in the welfare of others.”

Barbara Bailey, of Larone (northernmost of Fairfield’s seven villages), is Victor Grange’s lecturer. (Maine State Grange Communications Director Walter Boomsma says the title “lecturer” now means program director.) Bailey has been reading Victor Grange’s records (as of early May, she reported she was up to 1914).

The bicentennial history identifies the first Victor Grange Master as Olando A. Bowman. Bailey said his name was Orlando Bowman, with the last name sometimes spelled Bowerman, and the following dates are written under his picture in the Hall: “1874- 75-76-77-78 1881.”

Inside dining hall of Victor Grange.

In their first three meetings, Bailey wrote, Victor Grange members agreed to repair the Town Hall, which they had rented for five years as their meeting house. The 200 feet of spruce joists they ordered were presumably for that project.

They further voted to buy Grange regalia for 30 Brothers and 20 Sisters, one dozen fifth-edition Grange manuals and 100 letterheads. They ordered a cord of wood, and voted to pay M. D. Emery 25 cents a night “to build fires, fill oil lamps and trim wicks.”

Another early vote, Bailey wrote, was “to change the design of the seal to a Lady holding the Sickle,” instead of a man. Other early Grange seals featured a sickle; most contemporary ones show a sheaf of wheat. In 1967, the U. S. Postal Service issued a five-cent stamp showing a straw-hatted farmer holding his scythe, to honor the 100th anniversary of the National Grange.

(Sickles and scythes are both harvesting tools, hence Grange symbols. A sickle, also called a reaping hook or bagging hook, has a C-shaped blade about a foot long and a handle about six inches long; one harvesting with a sickle bends down, gathers an armful of grass or grain and cuts it a few inches above the ground. A scythe blade is only slightly curved, often over six feet long, attached to a six-foot handle with two handholds; one harvesting with a scythe stands erect and sweeps the blade along the ground, laying the grass or crop in rows. George Stubbs’ painting Reapers shows two men with sickles; Jean-Francois Millais’ painting The Reaper shows a man with a scythe.)

In January 1875, Victor Grange members started buying in bulk to sell to members cheaply: half a carload of flour; a “hogshead barreller of Puerto Rican Molasses and ½ chest of Japanese tea” (Bailey says a “hogshead barrel” was 33-1/3 gallons); and that month and in March spices, including cream of tartar. They appointed Watson Jones their agent to “sell wool for the farmers” and report at the next meeting.

They were also furnishing the Hall, buying four stands and two lamps in January and 25 chairs and a second-hand cookstove in March. In March, too, members voted to “Frame the Grange Charter in a suitable manner” and rent a “suitable instrument” (first an organ, later a piano, Bailey said).

By the first anniversary meeting, Bailey wrote, Victor Grange had 94 members. They voted to pay E. C. Jones 50 cents for stabling their horses during the anniversary celebration; and they voted to buy more regalia, three wall lamps, a hand lamp, window-curtains and “bleached cloth for tablecloths.”

They also voted to have an oyster supper and pastry at their next meeting and to buy “a suitable number” of plates, bowls, mugs and spoons.

In 1878, Bailey said, they spent $300 to buy a nearby store, which they used as a members’ co-op and, the Fairfield history says “the Grange home.”

The Hall standing today was planned and built in 1902 and 1903, and the former store was attached. The Fairfield history says Maine State Grange Master Obadiah Gardiner dedicated the new building on Oct. 1, 1903.

Bailey wrote that the fourth Victor Grange Master was Orlando Bowman’s grandson, George Tibbetts. Dates under his picture are 1883-84, 1885-1889, 1901-1902 and 1905, making him the Master under whom the organization was incorporated and construction of the new Hall started.

Another piece of Victor Grange’s history is a wooden chair, with the inscription on the bottom of the seat, “March 28,”87″ [1887] Geo Tibbetts Wedding.”

On Dec. 27, 1979, Ray W. Tobey wrote Grange members a thank-you letter for the Christmas food basket they left at his house. Thinking back over the 77 years to the rainy night when he took his first two degrees as a Grange member, he wrote that “the new hall was in process of construction and the Grange was meeting in the old Town Hall just north of the present building.”

Grange women used to prepare meals for students in the one-room schoolhouse across the street. After the building was no longer used as a school, Grangers bought it and turned it into a stable.

Tobey referred to the stable as the “building in which my father went to school when he was a boy.”

The Grange Hall stands in the south angle of the intersection of Routes 104 and 139 with Route 23, facing west on Route 23 (Oakland Road). The vacant lot just south of the building is being filled for a parking lot.

The large two-story building (plus basement and attic) has one section that is almost square and one – the former store – rectangular, with the main entrance with an open porch where the buildings join. A brick chimney rises from the roof near the junction.

Bailey said the former store houses the entryway, stairs, kitchen and bathrooms. The second floor is the junior room. Junior Grangers are aged from five to 13, she said; from age 14, members are treated as adults entitled to vote in Grange business.

The 1903 Grange Hall, the square section, has the dining room on the ground floor and a meeting room on the second floor, with a stage and a painted stage curtain.

Bailey said the meeting room has a rainbow-shaped tin ceiling that is 15 ½ feet long. Records show the Grange ordered it in 1899 from Pennsylvania, paying $357. It came by boat from Pennsylvania to Boston, by train from Boston to Hoxie Siding, in North Fairfield, and by horse and buggy to Victor Grange Hall.

In the 1990s, Bailey said, the state relocated Route 23 in front of the Grange Hall, moving it so much closer that vibrations from heavy trucks damaged the building. Window panes cracked and even the granite foundation crumbled.

The Fairfield history calls the Grange Hall “the social gathering place for Fairfield Center” for many years. Bailey found records of oyster stew suppers followed by a play presented in the second-floor room; admission was 25 cents, and up to 200 people would attend.

The Grange used to meet twice a month. Programs included assigned readings, which Bailey interpreted as reading local news reports for the benefit of farmers whose spare time and reading skills were limited.

Debates were another feature. Two three-person teams would present opposite sides of an issue, without a decision whether either side won. Bailey sees this activity as educational and a chance for members to hone public speaking skills.

When a Grange member died, the Charter was draped in black for 30 days and a small group, usually three other members, prepared a Resolution of Respect. The resolutions mourned the lost members, often mentioning a specific contribution that would be missed – the delicious biscuits, the work caring for the Hall, the floral arrangements.

Bailey said Victor Grange almost collapsed in the 1990s, as interest waned nationwide and local leaders aged and fell ill. She credits former Waterville dentist Steve Kierstead (Jan. 5, 1921 – Feb. 4, 2006), whose grandfather had been an early Master, with sparking a renewal of interest.

A neighborhood canvas led to the monthly senior citizen meals that continue today. At first, short programs focused on useful information about local politics, social services and the like.

One day a member brought in a scrapbook that contained newspaper clippings and other items, to show another member how he had learned her date of birth. His action led other members to do the same, to copy and to exchange clippings and to reminisce – “some of the most fun things we’ve ever done,” Bailey said.

In recent years Victor Grange has hosted annual sessions with Window Dressers, the nonprofit group that helps people build and install energy-efficient window coverings in their houses.

Bailey said the Hall has a new furnace and is handicapped-accessible, including the restrooms and a stairlift to the second floor. She expects more programs for senior citizens, to save them the drive to Waterville’s Muskie Center or other senior centers.

Currently, Victor Grange members are raising funds for insulation and other energy-efficiency improvements for the Grange Hall.

Bailey said Fairfield had another Grange organization, Hinckley Grange. Its Hall in Clinton is still standing on the east side of River Road, a short distance north of Pishon or Pishon’s Ferry, where Route 23 crosses the Kennebec River from Fairfield.

Hinckley Grange Hall is smaller than the other Grange Halls discussed, but is a typical rectangular wooden building, two stories tall with a peaked roof allowing space for one third-floor front window.

This writer has found one on-line reference to Hinckley Grange #539, in the obituary of former member Martha May Stokes (Sept. 17, 1922 – Sept. 23, 2012), who died in Kansas. The obituary says she was a Good Will High School graduate who “worked as a nutritionist for several hospitals.”

The number assigned to this Grange says it was founded in the 20th century, and Bailey reported that the collage of pictures of Hinckley Grange Masters, now part of Victor Grange’s collection of historical materials, begins in 1920 and ends in 1956.

Victor Grange schedule

Victor Grange meetings are held the second Monday of the month, with a 5 p.m. potluck supper followed by the meeting at 6. The next meeting is scheduled for June 14, the final meeting of the year for Dec. 13.

The Senor Circle meets at 11 a.m. the third Friday of the month. The next Senior Circle meeting is on May 21, and the final one for the year will be Dec. 17.

Public suppers are scheduled for 5 p.m. the fourth Saturday of each month through October. The next supper will be May 22, and the final 2021 supper will be Oct. 23.

Three special events are scheduled in the remaining months of 2021.

On Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11, the Grange will host the Fairfield Historical Society’s quilt show. The show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days; admission is $5. Grange members will provide lunches and snacks.

The Grange’s annual fund-raising tollbooth will be held in July. Readers ungenerous enough to want to know which day to avoid which road will need to consult the web.

The annual Fall Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 13.

The Fairfield Historical Society holds a barn sale from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16, at the History House, 42 High Street, Fairfield. Items offered include furniture, glassware, jewelry, antiques, books, collectibles and more.

The Society’s website says that people attending this and other Historical Society events should wear masks and observe social distancing and other relevant Covid requirements.

Main sources

Boomsma, Walter, Exploring Traditions – Celebrating the Grange Way of Life (2018).
Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Maine 1788-1988 (1988).

Websites, miscellaneous.

Personal conversations, Barbara Bailey.

SOLON & BEYOND: Solon elementary students to take assessment exams

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

This is a continuation of the school Maine Education Assessment Takes on a New Form. Last spring Maine students did not take the Maine Educational Assessment (MEA) because of the pandemic. This spring the test will resume, but it has a new form.

The Maine Department of Education has contracted with the Northwest Educational Association (NWEA) to use their test as the state assessment. Students in grades 3-8, and 11 will take tests in reading, language use, and 11th graders will take tests in reading, language use, and math, and students in grades 5,8, and 11 will also take a science test. All of these tests will be taken online.

We are fortunate that the NWEA has been our district test for a number of years so our students and staff are familiar with it. Our K-5 students currently take the NWEA three times a year (fall, winter, and spring) so that we can measure their academic growth across the year. The state will collect students scores for the first time this spring, but going forward they will require both fall and spring scores.

Our students will take these tests during the month of May. Teachers are preparing students by reviewing multiples choice test taking strategies as well as reviewing content concepts. K-2 students will take the tests for the district, but their scores will not be collected by the state.

If you have any questions about this new state assessment, please contact your child’s teacher or the principal. Please encourage your child or children to do their best!

That is all the recent news I have. Thanks to the school for sharing all the things going on with our students, it is very interesting.

As you know, since I don’t receive very much recent news lately, I have been going through old papers, etc., to find things to write about to give you a laugh or share love.

The following is some things I shared when I was writing for the Somerset Reporter and my by-line was SOLON the friendliest town in the state. The issue was from an issue on February 24, 1987 and it starts: Good morning my friends, as I have often written in the past, us reporters must experience life in order to be able to write about it. I can report to you as a definite fact that there are many people going to Job Service and the unemployment office because I’ve been there several times, lately (didn’t get any calls on that course I told you about!) It would be a miracle if I got a job through Job Service because on the form I filled out it asked what school you graduated from, and I put Flagstaff High School, then it wanted the address of this school and I put , “Under the Flagstaff Lake” – there is no ZIP code there.

Had a wonderful visit with my mother last Saturday and I found out that she also collects poems, sayings, etc. This one is so true- – Money will buy a bed but not sleep, books but not brains, food but not appetite, finery but not beauty, a house but not a home, medicine but not health, luxuries but not culture, amusement but not happiness, religion but not salvation, a passport to everywhere but heaven.

Just remember you read it in the Summerset Reporter! There was also a picture I had taken of five girls and under it said, “The Solon Elementary Knitting Class on Graduation day!” but it didn’t tell their names.

Have a wonderful day. Love many things for therein lies the true strength and whoever loves much performs much and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well. Author unknown.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Healthy Air, Healthy Home

Professionally cleaned air ducts can cut down on allergens in your home.

(NAPSI)—Asthma affects more than 24 million people in the U.S., including more than 6 million children, reports the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In addition, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.

If any of them is someone you care for, you should know those experts also say indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Fortunately, you can still be breathing clean.

The Problem

The air in your home circulates through the HVAC system and air ducts five to seven times a day. During the circulation process, allergens and other contaminants can settle in the air ducts and then get redistributed back into the air you and your family breathe.

An Answer

By having your air ducts properly cleaned, you keep dander, pollen, mold and the like from accumulating.

Call A Professional

Not just anyone can do the job. If a duct cleaning company’s deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. That’s why savvy homeowners turn to qualified contractors who are members of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). They follow a higher standard and a code of ethics.

Get Help

NADCA makes it really simple to find a certified air duct cleaning professional, via its online directory at

Adrian Hoyt KVCC student of the year

Adrian Hoyt

Adrian Hoyt, of Benton, has been chosen as the 2021 Students of the Year at Kennebec Valley Com­munity College, in Fairfield.

A recording of the presentation will be available on the MCCS YouTube channel.

Seven students statewide were selected at their respective college for their academic success and their campus and community involvement. In addition to being named Student of the Year, each student received a John and Jana Lapoint Leadership Award in the amount of $1,000. The Lapoints both served as trustees of the Maine Community College System. After John’s death in 1995, Jana Lapoint helped establish the fund for the annual awards.

“Our students are well educated and have demonstrated in many ways their commitment to their college, their communities and their families,” Lapoint said.

PHOTO: Four generations

Four generations posed for this photo recently. Center, mother Kassie Bisson, of Belgrade, holding daughter Brinley Bisson. Left, great-grandmother, Joan Hallee, of Waterville, and right, grandmother Angela Hallee, of Winslow. (contributed photo)

KVCC president departing in May 2021

Dr. Richard Hopper

Dr. Richard Hopper, president of Kennebec Valley Community College since 2013, has announced his decision to leave the College at the end of May after eight years of service to Maine and the mid-Maine region. He has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Ukraine.

“These eight years leading KVCC have been an immense privilege,” Hopper stated. “The institutional development and transformation by our leadership team, faculty, staff, students, and community has exceeded anything we could have imagined. My overwhelming response to all that has been accomplished at the college is a deep sense of appreciation. I am most grateful to have led the delicate transition of KVCC to pandemic operations. In spite of the social distancing and remote learning – or perhaps because of it – our community somehow feels ever more tightly knit and caring.”

KVCC Vice President of Student Affairs, Enrollment, and Public Relations Karen Normandin will serve as interim president for the 2021-22 academic year. A search for the next KVCC president will be undertaken early next year.

“From the outset of his tenure, Dr. Hopper worked tirelessly to learn, improve, and advance the College,” said Maine Community College System Board of Trustees Chair William Cassidy. “Over the last eight years, Rick brought great energy and creativity to his position. His many accomplishments include overseeing the construction and opening of the new KVCC Harold Alfond Campus in Hinckley, increasing student enrollment, implementing data-driven decision making, and increasing the College’s fundraising. He was also a System leader in advancing student support strategies and services at both of his College’s campuses,” added Mr. Cassidy.

Maine Community College System President David Daigler also praised Dr. Hopper. “Rick was frequently a leader in identifying and designing strategic and accountability initiatives. He always sought data-driven analyses to ensure that important decisions were informed, and significant investments were prudent. And, like all of our presidents this past year, he kept a steady hand during the many challenges of the pandemic.”

“Perhaps most importantly though, Rick was ready to participate thoughtfully in issues of access, support, and opportunity. He cared deeply about those striving to improve their lives through a community college education. We all wish Rick well in his next role as a Fulbright Fellow and in all future endeavors,” President Daigler added.

Normandin, who will begin her duties on June 1, has worked at KVCC for more than 30 years, and has deep ties to the students, faculty, staff and larger community. She has twice received the President’s Award for her leadership, and was a John T. Gorman Fellow in 2019.

New Dimension FCU announces scholarship program winners

Jack Begin, left, accepted his scholarship certificate presented on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. Alyssa Bourque went to the Silver Street location to get her scholarship certificate on Monday, May 3, 2021. (contributed photos)

New Dimensions FCU awarded a Cony High School student and a Lawrence High School student each with a $2,500 scholarship for their first year in college.

Each year, New Dimensions FCU awards scholarships to deserving high school seniors that demonstrate strong character, community involvement, and academic success.

This year we received many applications from students; therefore, making it a difficult task to determine which of the students would walk away with a scholarship. After much deliberation, the New Dimensions Scholarship Committee selected two students who stood out so profoundly because of their dedication and perseverance during the pandemic while maintaining academic success and forward-moving achievements. New Dimensions has announced that Jack Begin, from Cony High School, in Augusta, and Alyssa Bourque, from Lawrence High School, in Fairfield, have been selected as the 2021 New Dimensions Federal Credit Union College $2,500 Scholarship winners.

Jack Begin tells us that he is to report to the United States Naval Academy on June 30, 2021, where he begins his first year in his engineering degree. Alyssa Bourque will be attending the University of Vermont, where she will study biomedical engineering.

Ryan Poulin, chief executive officer, states, “At New Dimensions, we understand the power of education, and we promote the financial success and aspirations of our younger generations. We encourage all students who graduate high school and plan on attending school in the fall to participate in our scholarship program. Making this one of the many ways we contribute to the communities we serve.”

For more information, contact NDFCU at (800) 326-6190 or visit

SCORES & OUTDOORS: A home invader I had never heard about before last week

clover mite

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Have you ever heard of clover mites? Neither had I. Until, that is, a couple of weeks ago when a friend told me of her encounter with some. So, let’s take a closer look at them.

First of all, clover mites flourish in early spring.

This dark reddish-brown pest, which is smaller than a pinhead, does not pose a threat to human health or cause major damage to homes, but it can be a severe nuisance when it invades structures.

The sight of clover mites in the house can cause distress. However, clover mites do not bite humans or cause adverse health issues. Despite this, most homeowners are not exactly thrilled to see large numbers of these small, red-colored bugs crawling around indoors.

Clover mites differ from many pests in that they prefer cooler weather. Clover mite activity increases as temperatures start to drop, during which time they pay homage to their name by feasting on clovers, over-fertilized grass and many other plants. In fact, clover mites eat more than 200 different plant species, including some flowers. Their activity peaks in the cooler, early spring months when they can become the greatest nuisance to homeowners – so be prepared to see clover mites en masse this time of year.

Once the hotter summer weather arrives, clover mites will lay eggs and go into hiding. In the northeastern U.S., for example, they may go into a dormant state around May and remain that way until September. Any eggs that are laid in fall will overwinter until hatching the following spring. These eggs are often positioned in the cracks and crevices of a home’s exterior or between walls, creating issues for homeowners upon hatching.

Home infestations are most severe when sudden changes in weather or habitat occur. Populations typically move indoors in autumn when the plants that clover mites feed on start to perish, causing these pests to invade in high numbers — even by hundreds of thousands. Additional infestations occurring in the spring are typically driven by the sudden growth of lush vegetation around a home’s perimeter, which is especially palatable to clover mites.

When smashed, adult clover mites leave behind a red stain, especially on items such as curtains, wallpaper, rugs and other furniture that are lighter in color. As such, clover mites found in the home should be vacuumed up instead of crushed. This stain is not the mite’s blood, but is the mite’s body pigments.

So, what to do about them.

There are steps homeowners can take to prevent clover mite infestations indoors. For starters, thick vegetation or plants that are known to attract clover mites should be removed in an 18- to 24-inch band around the perimeter of the home. Likewise, homeowners should inspect the structure, including the foundation, window frames and siding for cracks that may serve as entry points. These spaces should be properly sealed to prevent clover mites from laying eggs or entering the home.

If homeowners notice any signs of clover mite activity on their property, they should contact a licensed pest control professional to resolve the issue.

Your pest management professional will perform an inspection and use the inspection findings to prepare an integrated pest management plan for clover mite control. Your PMP will use his expertise and knowledge to recommend the application of effective and efficient chemical control measures to reduce the clover mite problem. However, his control program will likely include some helpful preventive measures the homeowner may choose to employ, as well. Among these preventive measures are:

– Using a wet sponge or a crevice attachment of a vacuum cleaner to remove mites, making sure to take precautions to avoid crushing the mites and causing stains.

– Remove all grass and weeds from around the foundation perimeter and leaving vegetation free strip about two feet wide. This method is especially important on the south and southwest sides of the structure. Clover mites are not as likely to move through bare, loose soil as they are through soil that is supporting plants that touch the structure’s foundation. Use of pea gravel can also discourage mite movement into the structure.

– Sealing holes, cracks and gaps on the foundations, windows and doors, thus helping discourage mites from entering the structure.

– Making sure to use window screens that are tight fitting.

– Making sure not to over-fertilize the lawn or ornamental plant areas since clover mite populations tend to do better in lawns that are well fertilized.

Observance of the reddish colored clover mites crawling on surfaces such as windowsills and siding on the sunny sides of homes are the most obvious indicator of an infestation.

Although clover mites are not a danger to human health and do not destroy furniture, clothing or food items, they can become an indoor nuisance when invading homes, business and medical facilities. Once inside, they will soon die, but not until they have created problems resulting from an annoying presence and cosmetic damage.

Clover mites are not blood feeders, but feed on plants, getting their nutrition from sucking plant juices from grasses, clover and other plants common to lawns. Clover mites can become a nuisance in multi-story buildings since they can live on rooftops and patios where mold or mildew provide sources of food.

Clover mites go through four life stages – eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults. The clover mite overwinters in any dry, protected location primarily in the egg stage. Sidewalk cracks, walls of buildings and logs can host vast numbers of overwintering eggs.

The overwintering eggs hatch early in the spring and clover mite adults become active as soon as the temperature warm above about the mid-40s and begin to climb up the exterior walls from the ground and gain entrance around windows and doors. Overwintering mites hatch in the spring and begin to produce second generations. Spring generations will aestivate, which is a form of summer hibernation where mites go inactive on warm, dry days. Second generations typically complete in the fall.

Clover mite populations may become large since females can lay up to 70 eggs and each becomes a mature adult in 30 days or less under suitable circumstances. Clover mites reproduce without being fertilized by the males.

Clover mites are found throughout the United States.

I think I will keep a closer eye out for those little pests.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

Former Red Sox pitcher Wade Miley recently pitched a no-hitter for the Cincinnati Reds over the Cleveland Indians. Who was the last Red Sox pitcher to throw a no-hitter?

Answer can be found here.