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Horticultural Updates

By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

September 2017

Scientists uncover how bees choose to pollinate. A team of researchers at the University of Arizona have figured out how bees decide what method of pollination they use. They also captured some great high speed footage of the bees.

Do you want to learn about the zoo beneath your feet? Learn about the “…subterranean community that includes worms, insects, mites, other arthropods you’ve never heard of, amoebas, and fellow protozoa. The dominant organisms are bacteria and fungi. All these players work together, sometimes by eating one another…”(Adrian Higgins, Washington Post). 

Honey bee on flower
Honey bee. Photo: Michigan State University Extension

Bees Are the First Insects Found to Understand the Concept Of Zero.  When the insects were encouraged to fly towards a platform carrying fewer shapes than another one, they apparently recognised “no shapes” as a smaller value than “some shapes”, (Sam Wong, New Scientist).

Good news!  The US bee population has increased in 2017- the number of bees disappearing due to colony collapse disorder is significantly smaller than it was in 2016.” (IFLScience).

Elm Seed Bugs
Life stages of Elm Seed Bugs.  Photo: Ryan Davis, Utah State University

Managing Elm Seed Bugs around Your Home– Recent publication from University of Idaho:

Oh my! This plant murders bugs and decorates itself with dead bodies.
(Helen Thompson,

A forgotten treasure at the intersection of Science and Poetry. Long before she wrote her poems, she gathered, grew, classified, and pressed flowers. Harvard has digitized Emily Dickinson’s herbarium in its totality. (Maria Popova,

Mow before you spray- and other tips for protecting pollinators in grassy landscapes.  A new guide in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management shows how lawn care and pollinator protection can coexist. (Entomology Today))

Do you use a rain barrel?  Learn from an expert about potential contaminants.  (Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU Fact Sheet, FS280E; photo by William McCaleb)

Beetle art: ‘Sweet and curious’ drawing beetle wins hearts online.  A talented beetle named Spike is drawing attention with his mini masterpieces. (BBC news-Asia)

Foliar Diseases of Tomato!  Check out this informative publication.  Note: Only use OSU publications for treatment recommendations. (Steve Bost, U of Tennessee)

Need a soil test?  This publication has finally been updated!

An interesting read on the Neonic controversy: Do Neonics Hurt Bees? Researchers and the Media Say Yes. The Data Do Not.”  (John Entine,

Aphid galls
Aphid galls. Photo: Duke Elsner, Michigan State University Extension

Galls, galls and more galls! Learn about the many types of aphid galls.  (

There is an App or online tool for almost everything nowadays!  Check out the ITP (Identification Technology Program) pest identification page. ITP is part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) division. They have an ant key, Lepidoptera larva key, aphid ID, bark beetle ID and more.  (Photo by David Cappaert, MSU)

Just for fun! Watch a lovely, short animated film on the Story of Flowers” (AMKK)

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