Natter’s’ Notes By Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener
As is true with the introduction of numerous other invasive species, there is no real way to tell how the Asian giant hornets (AGH; Vespa mandarinia) arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Among the possibilities are via international container ships, imported products, travelers visiting the US, or people returning from another country. The hornets are native to temperate and tropical eastern Asia, including parts of Japan, China, India, and Sri Lanka. (https://agr.wa.gov/departments/insectspests-and-weeds/insects/hornets/faq
An adult is 1 1/4″ to 2″ long with a striped abdomen, orange head, and black eyes
AGH predators and are a potential serious threat to honeybees
AGH are ground-nesters, active from May to August
AGH has an annual colony, with cooperative care of the larvae by the workers.
To learn where AGH have been sighted, see the map at https://agr.wa.gov/hornets. (Be patient; the map loads slowly.) The map will be updated as additional reports are made.
AGH nests underground, often in abandoned rodent burrows. It’s an annual colony in which all, except the mated queens, die at the end of the season, August, in their native land. Metamorphosis is complete, with 4 life stages: Egg; larva; pupa, a non-feeding resting stage; and adult. The life cycle is about 40 days. The larvae are fed masticated prey by the workers. Adults are predators of many large-bodied insects such as grasshoppers and beetles. European honey bees (Apis mellifera) are very susceptible to attack.
In the spring, the overwintering queens locate a nest site and lay about 40 eggs. She rears the first generation which then takes over food gathering and larval care. The colony is aggressively defended throughout the season. In the fall, males wait at the entrance for the females, mate, then die.
This is definitely not an opportunity to be a hero. AGH’s half-inch long stingers can easily penetrate a traditional beekeeper’s suit. After your sighting is verified, let the pros do the heavy lifting.
Commercial traps for wasps and/or hornets won’t work because the holes are too small.
AGH seldom sting humans but, when they do, the effect can be very serious.
Use extreme caution near Asian giant hornets. The venom is more toxic than local bees or wasps.
Beekeeping gear won’t protect you.
Persons allergic to bee or wasp stings should never approach an Asian giant hornet and/or its nest.
If you find an individual or colony, report it to your state Department of Agriculture immediately. (See the list of Resources.)
Opportunities for MGs
Well, as is common when a new invasive insect is reported, numerous “sightings” have been reported but only 2 verified. A newspaper in Louisiana even ran a story saying essentially “It’s not here.”
A prime opportunity for every Master Gardener is to share a research-based Teachable Moment with family, friends, and the public. One way is to provide a Pictorial ID of Look-a-Likes (at the end of this story) which compare sizes of insects which might be confused with AGH.
By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Service Staff Retired, OSU Master Gardener
Team Shows How Butterfly Wings Can Shift in Hue: “Recent study leads to a deeper understanding of how butterfly wing color is created and evolves.” Diana Kenney, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Chicago https://bit.ly/2T19dua
A Field Guide to the Miniature Menagerie Inside Your Own Home: “There’s no social distance between you and your face mites.” Jessica Leigh Hester, Atlasobscura.com https://bit.ly/2LmDvDt
Hummingbirds Show Up When Tropical Trees Fall Down: “Treefalls happen all the time, but this one just happened to occur in the exact spot where a decades-long ecological study was in progress, giving University of Illinois researchers a rare look into tropical forest dynamics.” Lauren Quinn, Illinois ACES https://bit.ly/2yIEGdY
Wasps: “Wasps make up an enormously diverse array of insects, with some 30,000 identified species. We are most familiar with those that are wrapped in bright warning colors—ones that buzz angrily about in groups and threaten us with painful stings. But most wasps are actually solitary, non-stinging varieties. And all do far more good for humans by controlling pest insect populations than harm.” Nationalgeographic.com https://on.natgeo.com/2WRMRwm
A tale of two weeders – lessons in managing aggressive, perennial weeds Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Gardenprofessors.com https://bit.ly/2WpKMsp
NASA Releases Satellite Images of California Superbloom From Space Madison Dapcevich, iflscience.com https://bit.ly/3brIn4I
Fertilizing Flower Gardens and Avoid Too Much Phosphorus – Tina Smith & Doug Cox, U of MASS at Amherst https://bit.ly/2WpoPtw
Apple identification: “This website will help you identify apple varieties. If you have an unknown apple variety that you want to identify you can compare the key features you see on it with dozens of attributes and variety characteristics listed on this website.” Seattle Tree Fruit Society, Western Cascade Fruit Society Chapters, Home Orchard Society, BC Fruit Testers Assoc., & Orange Pippin https://bit.ly/3ctkdrV
“This is exactly the time we need to step up our game, listen, learn, and grow our work to be more equitable and inclusive of our many communities, particularly our communities of color. We look forward to growing together, and to working towards racial justice and equity in the Master Gardener Program.”
Gail Langellottoand LeAnn Locher
The Master Gardener Program and Racial Justice
Earlier this month we shared a message from Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Gail Langellotto, and Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator, LeAnn Locher regarding the OSU Master Gardener Program’s commitment to racial justice and equity. We would like to share, once more, Gail and LeAnn’s imperative call for racial justice in the OSU Master Gardener Program. https://beav.es/4Hk
Last week Gail followed-up with a post, explaining the overwhelming support she received from dozens of Master Gardeners in support of racial and social justice. In addition, Gail also listed the reading recommendations responders shared to begin and expand understanding of racial justice. You can find Gail’s post here https://beav.es/4rv
The metro area Master Gardener Program also received messages of strong support for the Program’s call for action. Metro area Master Gardeners also shared resource recommendations, many of which were included in Gail’s post.
Here are the additional resource recommendations from metro area Master Gardeners…
The metro area Master Gardener Program echoes the commitment to racial justice and equity for the MG program, expressed by Gail and LeAnn. We recognize that there is a lot of work to be done, and a lot to learn. Together we need to identify barriers in our program, take action to remove those barriers, and remain focused on creating an inclusive, welcoming community for all gardeners.
Webinar Series Continues
With the goal of keeping our Master Gardener community connected and engaged, the metro Master Gardener program has moved online. Every Friday at 1pm we are presenting a horticulture-focused webinar for Master Gardeners and the gardening public. Upcoming webinars…
1PM, Friday, June 19th, “Pollination and Pollinators: Sex and the Single Flower”, with Bob Falconer, OSU Master Gardener Register at this link https://beav.es/4rc
1PM, Friday, June 26th, “New High Priority Noxious Weeds—How to ID” with Michele Delepine, West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
Friday, July 3, no scheduled webinar
Friday, July 10, “Therapeutic Horticulture, Gardening for Healthy Living”, with Scott Hoffman, Therapeutic Garden Program Coordinator, Whole Health, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System
Metro Master Gardener online webinars count as continuing garden education credit.
In the midst of the pandemic, and with OSU Extension Service’s commitment to keeping communities safe, suspension remains in effect for any in-person volunteer activities for OSU Master Gardeners. This includes all Master Gardener clinics (phone, Farmers Markets, and special events), classes, workshops, demonstration gardens, parks, partner organizations, Speakers Guild presentations, fundraisers, and in-person meetings/lectures/speakers.
As the State of Oregon lifts restrictions, around the state, OSU Extension is in the process of approving some restricted, limited, volunteer activities. Approved activities will have requirements regarding safety protocol, which must be met. As the University provides information and guidance regarding a resumption plan, we will provide updates.
Volunteering with Partner Organizations
Although some Partner organizations in the metro area may be resuming volunteer activities, at this point, in the metro area, Master Gardeners are not approved to participate and volunteer at any partner venues.
We are deeply appreciative of those partner organizations who are clearly communicating the restrictions of the OSU Master Gardener Program. We are keeping those organizations apprised of any changes to the University’s in-person volunteer policy and look forward to the day we can resume these valued partnerships. We will alert all volunteers as restrictions are lifted.
With the cancellation of volunteer activities, and knowing the many challenges people are facing, we are waiving volunteer requirements for 2020. We ask metro area Master Gardeners to report any volunteer hours served this year and their continuing education hours, by September 30, 2020.
We encourage Master Gardeners to take advantage of the many online continuing education opportunities. Updates will be sent via email and/or posted in this monthly newsletter.
Master Gardener Hangout
Are you looking to connect with other Master Gardeners in an informal, online setting? Join our Friday, Master Gardener Hangouts. This is a forum to talk all things gardening.
Past Master Gardener Hangouts have been fun, with mini tours of gardens, as participants took their laptops and phones out into their gardens – shared favorite vegetable varieties – asked each other questions – just enjoyed a chance to connect with fellow gardeners!
You can connect via phone or internet. Look for an email from Marcia McIntyre, which will be sent on Friday afternoons as that week’s webinar is ending, with a link to join the ‘Master Gardener Hangout’.
Online Educational Opportunities
A wide-variety of educational webinars are available to view from other Master Gardener and Extension programs across the state. Check them out.
Master Gardener Advanced Training webinars continue on July 16th, 10am with Solve Pest Problems: A New Resource for Master Gardeners and the Public. Join Weston Miller, and learn about the exciting developments for the Solve Pest Problems website. Pre-register here: https://learn.extension.org/events/3762
Gardening Will Save the World webinar series, sponsored by the Hood River Co. Master Gardeners. To register, see link below.
· June 17, Insect Apocalypse: Real of Hype?, presented by Dr. Gail Langellotto, OSU Master Gardener State Coordinator
· July 1, Pollinators, presented by Dr. Andony Melathopolous, OSU Professor, Pollinator Health Extension
· July 15, Pesticide Safety, presented by Brooke Edmunds, Community Horticulture, Master Gardeners Linn and Benton Counties
Tree SchoolOnline OSU Extension Clackamas Co. Tree School continues to offer weekly online webinars through July 28. Look for classes designated for Master Gardener continuing education credit. For more information go to https://beav.es/4Hn
Recently Reported Contaminated Soil and Compost
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) recently reported that it discovered soil and compost contaminated with the herbicide clopyralid. The contamination was found in products purchased at two landscape distribution companies, Dean Innovations and McFarlane’s. Details regarding the contamination, plus the ODA’s recommendation on the steps gardeners can take if they purchased the contaminated product can be found here… https://bit.ly/2MZkF6m
Gardeners seeking further information about pesticide risk for their situation can contact the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378 Monday –Friday from 8:00am –12:00pm, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org