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

Cover of OSU Publication EM 9297
New OSU publication EM 9297

Asian Giant Hornet: A potential threat to honeybee colonies in Oregon
New OSU publication outlines identification, life cycle, and predatory habits of the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia).  Along with recommendations for reporting a suspected sighting in the Pacific Northwest. (Ellen Topitzhofer, Chris Hedstrom, Priyadarshini Chakrabarti, Andony Melathopoulos, Silvia I. Rondon, Gail A. Langellotto-Rhodaback, Ramesh R. Sagili)

Why Are Plants Green? To Reduce the Noise in Photosynthesis. “Plants ignore the most energy-rich part of sunlight because stability matters more than efficiency, according to a new model of photosynthesis.” (Rodrigo Perez Ortega,

Spiders, cobwebs proliferate this time of year; here’s why (plus fascinating spider myths and info.) (

View of the Columbia River Gorge, with haze caused from forest fire.
Columbia Gorge Fire, PNW Disease Handbook

Air Pollution: Ozone. (Jay Pschdeit, PNW Disease Handbook)

Volcanic Rock Yields a New Kind of Insecticide for Mosquitoes. (John P. Roche

A Field Guide to Finding Cool Moths. (Ken Keffer,

Bumblebees Are Larger in Cities, Study Finds-Bigger bees have larger brains and are better pollinators. (Mary Jo DiLonardo,

Moth Fur Is the Ultimate Acoustic Armor. It muffles the clicks of ravenous, echolocating bats. (Matthew Taub,

Yellowjacket, OSU

Be Yellowjacket Aware. (Amanda Brenner, Lauren Grad, OSU)

Female Dragonflies Play Dead To Avoid Having Sex, New Video Shows.  Researchers believe this is a survival tactic which is rare- “Sexual death feigning.” (Annie Garau,

A 194-year-old apple tree, the matriarch of the Northwest apple industry, has died. (CNN via

Selecting quality trees from the nursery. (Edward F. Gilman, and Laura Sadowski, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL)

Some like it hot… but most do not: How high temperatures delay pollination and ripening. (John Porter,

Squash blossom with sun shining on the blossoms.
Squash blossom, OSU

Bumblebees hate pumpkin pollen, which may help pumpkins (Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell U)

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

Photo: OSU

Study shows some urban gardens contain too much organic matter. (Kym Pokorny, OSU; via Mykl Nelson & James Cassidy, OSU)

Environmental Injury: Winter Burn of Evergreens. (Marianne Ophardt & Rita Hummel, WSU)

Pollen adaptation to ant pollination: a case study from the Proteaceae. “Ant-plant associations are widely diverse and distributed throughout the world, leading to antagonistic and /or mutualistic interactions. “ (Nicola Delnevo, et al: Annals of Botany, Oxford U)

Beetles and Wasps vie for title of most diverse critter. (Nell Greenfield Boyce,

Longevity study reveals why ancient trees can stave off death.  “New research “can help us better understand the concept of time in biology.”

Thorns to branches. “The pointy defense system relied on by many plants has an interesting origin story. Thorns start out as branch-like structures that grow out of the main stem and then, all of a sudden, turn into sharp death spikes. Now, researchers have not only figured out how that happens, but also how it can be stopped.” (Joram,

Photo: Bernadine Strik, OSU

REVISED PUBLICATION: Growing Strawberries in your Home Garden. (Bernadine Strik, et al; OSU)

Gall fly outmaneuvers host plant in game of ‘Spy vs. Spy.’ (Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State U)

What has been thought and taught on the Lunar influence on plants in agriculture?  Perspective from Physics and Biology. (Olga Mayoral, et al; U of Velencia Spain)

Amber specimens reveal vivid color of 99-million-year-old insects. (

How the Giant Sequoia protects itself: a three-dimensional network of fibers makes the bark resistant to fire and rock fall. (University of Freiburg)

Ants on Peony flowers: an enduring myth.  Do ants harm peonies? (Old Farmers

First Detector summer national webinar series. Improve your diagnostic skills with tips and tricks to help you recognize symptoms of common plant problems. Brush up on identification features of pests on the move like spotted lanternfly, Asian longhorned beetle, and oak wilt. (National Plant Diagnostic Network)

Lichen. Photo: OSU

Nature and pollution: what lichens tell us about toxic air. By Beth Askham, Natural History Museum)

Study in Philadelphia links growth in tree canopy to decrease in human mortality. (USDA Forest Service)

Tomato’s hidden mutations in study of 100 varieties (

A Bee C: Scientists translate honeybee queen duets. (Victoria Gill, BBC News)

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

Cover of OSU publication 'Enhancing Urban Suburban Landscapes to Protect Pollinators, with a photo of a bumble bee gathering pollen from a white cosmo flower.

New publication: Enhancing Urban Suburban Landscapes to protect Pollinators. “The way we garden and manage the landscapes of the Northwest can promote the health of bees, butterflies, and other insects.  Homeowners, gardeners, landscape professionals and volunteer groups all can work to attract a wide range of pollinators to their properties.  This guide offers detailed plant lists, garden designs and advice on creating pollinator habitat.  Once plants are in the ground, learn to keep them healthy without exposing pollinating insects to pesticides that are toxic to them.” (Andony Melathopoulos, et all, OSU- EM 9289)

Nonnative, noninvasive woody species can enhance urban landscape biodiversity. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU via International Society of Arboriculture)

New research illuminates nocturnal pollen transport network. “Moths may even help counterbalance pollination gaps left in the wake of other insect declines.” (Cara Giaimo,

VIDEO:  The botanist stuck in the kitchen with peas- a short botany lesson. (Katherine A. Preston, via

How the Pea Aphid decides to make wings or not.Wing development in females is environmentally controlled, but in males, an insertion on the sex chromosome appears to dictate whether the insects grow wings, according to a study.” (Vivian Callier,

WEBINAR: High magnification, low cost: macro garden photography on a budget. (Danae Wolfe, Ohio State U; via

Honey locust tree with bark peeled away by squirrels.
Photo credit: Joe Boggs, OSU Extension

Squirrels debarking trees.  Recently a MG showed me some photos of a problem on a fruit tree. The damage looked awfully familiar to me since I have this same problem on my maple trees every spring.  (Joe Boggs, Ohio State U)

Here’s how plants became meat eaters. “Carnivorous plants are the ‘most skillful green hunters on the planet.” (Diane Lincoln – Live

Pollen-deprived bumblebees may speed up plant blooming by biting leaves. “In a pollen shortage, bees can make tomatoes bloom early by nipping foliage.” (Susan Milius,

Genetic analysis reveals the fascinating evolutionary origins of Catmint, AKA Catnip. (Max Planck Institute,

The weed apocalypse. (Jim Downer,

Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early, surprising scientists. “How it actually works remains a mystery, but if replicated by humans, it could be a boon for agriculture.” (Virginia Morell,

Big, beautiful, and confusing: Deciphering the true hornets-including the “Murder Hornet.” (Leslie Mertz, Ph.D.,

Flowers respond to pollinator sound within minutes by increasing nectar sugar concentration. (Marine Veits ,

Earthy funk lures tiny creatures to eat and spread bacterial spores. “Master chemist soil bacteria can waft a scent appetizing to springtails.”(Susan Milius,

Ribbon type fasciation of Sedum plant.
Ribbon type fasciation of Sedum.
OSU Plant Clinic image, 2008.

UPDATE INFO- 2020 PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook: “Well, a virus may have slowed us down but the 2020 version of the PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook is now fully online. Most of it has been there for many weeks now. A total of 28 new sections, another 98 sections that were rewritten and 20 new fungicides were added (and 7 removed) where needed throughout the book. A new section on “Fasciation” was added…” (PNW Disease Management, Facebook) Fasciation:

The Strange, Twisted Story Behind Seattle’s Blackberries. (Ann Dornfeld,

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

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,

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

Yellowjacket on food, “Western Yellowjacket” by K Schneider is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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.”

Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings: Minda Daughtry and last updated by Pam Kerley  NC Cooperative Extension)

A tale of two weeders – lessons in managing aggressive, perennial weeds Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott,

NASA Releases Satellite Images of California Superbloom From Space Madison Dapcevich,

Fertilizing Flower Gardens and Avoid Too Much Phosphorus – Tina Smith & Doug Cox, U of MASS at Amherst

A selection of apple varieties, Montana State University

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

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

Cupped hands holding soil.
Photo Oregon State University

Some domesticated plants ignore beneficial soil microbes.  “Domestication yielded bigger crops often at the expense of plant microbiomes.” (Holly Ober, U of CA Riverside)

Your new word for the day: thigmomorphogenesis:  “… thigmo-” which means touch, “-morpho-” which means appearance, and “-genesis” which means beginning. String them all together and you get the phenomenon seen when plants respond to mechanical stimulation by changing their growth pattern and hence the way they look.” (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, The

Blooms and Borders: How Daffodils Reveal Historic Building Foundations (Sherry Teal, Southern Ramble)

Researchers Turn Spinach Leaves Into Beating Heart Tissues. “These living leaves could eventually become patches for the human heart.” (Jason Daley,

Many plants have extrafloral nectaries helpful to beneficials. (Russel F. Mixell, U of Florida)

Plants, Pollen and Allergies.Plant allergies are complex. Chief among allergies are allergies to pollen but not everyone reacts to pollen or the same pollen. Some people may also react to touching a plant or odors given off by a plant that have nothing to do with pollen. A medical allergist may be needed to help identify which specific allergens one needs to avoid.” (Missouri Botanical Garden)

Base of large, mature tree, with many exposed tree roots, above the soil level.
Photo Oregon State University

A root’s life. “Roots are the unsung heroes of plants! But unfortunately your every day hard working root gets little respect from gardeners.” (Jim Downer,

The life and death of one of America’s most mysterious trees. “A majestic ponderosa pine, standing tall in what is widely thought to have been the “center of the world” for the Ancestral Puebloan people, may have more mundane origins than previously believed…” (Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona)

Planting Prognostication: Understanding last frost and planting dates.  “Except for areas of the US that are more tropical like southern Florida or Hawaii, most gardener’s planting schedules are set around winter weather and the possibility of frost or freeze.  And even for gardeners in those more tropical areas, planting sometimes needs to be planned to schedule around the extreme heat of summer.  Understanding these planting times can really lead to success or failure, especially for vegetable gardens, tender annuals, tropicals, and non-dormant perennials.” (John Porter,

Revised publication: Growing Blackberries in Your Home Garden. (Bernadine Stik, Cassie Bouska & Emily Dixon, OSU; EC 1303)

Revised publication: Growing Raspberries in your Home Garden.(Bernadine Strik, Cassie Bouska, & Emily Dixon, OSU; EC 1306)

Revised publication: Growing Strawberries in Your Home Garden.(Bernadine Strik, OSU; EC 1307)

Cover of Pantry Pest Guide

New publication: PANTRY PEST GUIDE- Common Insect Culprits in Homes and Kitchens of the Pacific Northwest. (PNW Extension Publication 729)

WSU publication: GROWING ROSES IN WASHINGTON STATE- COMMON DISEASE AND INSECT PROBLEMS. (Marianne Ophardt & Sheila Gray, WSU, PNW Extension Publication 733)

New publication:  The Care and Maintenance of Wood Shingle and Shake Roofs. (J. Morrell, J. Cappellazzi and J.W. Pscheidt, PNW Extension Publication 733)

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

NEW PUBLICATION- “Trees and Shrubs for Fall and Winter Bloom 28 Species Attractive to Pollinators and People West of the Cascades.”  (Neil Bell, Heather Stoven, Andony Melathopoulos, OSU-EM9277)

REVISED PUBLICATION– “Managing Diseases and Insects in Home Orchards.” (J. W. Pscheidt, et al; OSU- EC631)

NEW PUBLICATION– “Kabocha and Butternut Squash for Western Oregon Gardens.” (Alice Formiga, et al, OSU-EM9270)

Bent into shape: The rules of tree form. “How do trees find their sense of direction as they grow? Researchers are getting to the root, and the branches, of how the grandest of plants develop.” (Rachel Ehrenberg,

Ants produce antibiotics that may protect plants.  “The antimicrobial compounds ants excrete to defend themselves from pathogens may protect plants as well.” (Emily Makowsk,

Scientists just solved the strange case of pine trees that always lean towards the equator. (Signe Dean,

Argiope aurantia Yellow garden spider (with zigzag stabilimentum) Fayetteville 5 July 2001 J. K. Barnes

Bright yellow spots help some orb weaver spiders lure their next meal. “Bees and moths appear strongly attracted to the markings on the arachnids.” (Yao-Hua Law,

Potting soil poison.  “Gardeners often struggle to grow plants in containers. You may feel that you have a really black thumb at times when newly planted seedlings fall over dead or fail to thrive. The problem may not be disease or poor gardening acumen but rather your container media otherwise sold as “Potting Soil”. (Jim Downer,

Rise and shine-NASA mission captures aerial view of plants waking.  “We aren’t the only lifeforms hitting the snooze button.” (Passant Rabie,

VIDEO: NASA is ready to send more plants and a new way to handle seeds to the International Space Station. (NASA’s Kennedy Space Center via

Prescribed burns benefit bees.   “Freshly burned longleaf pine forests have more than double the total number of bees and bee species than similar forests that have not burned in over 50 years, according to new research from North Carolina State University.” (Elsa Youngsteadt, et al, NCSU)

Stunning!  Colored micrographs magnify pollen seeds, plant cells, and leaf structures in photographs by Rob Kesseler (Grace Ebert,

Pollinating opossums confirm decades-long theory. “In Brazil there is a plant so strange that researchers predicted — and 27 years later, proved-that opossums are key to its pollination.” (Ecological Society of America via

When good seeds go bad: How long can you store seeds? “While there isn’t a date where all the seeds go bad, they will eventually go bad over time. Why is this? And how can I make sure to use my seeds before they’re gone?” (John Porter,

VIDEO: Story of flowers, a breathtaking botanical animation.( via youtube)

Invasive plant look-alikes! (Fate Syewoangnuan,

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

Bernedine Strik, OSU

NEW: Pruning video course series from OSU.  Five courses offered: Pruning Blueberry, Grapes, Kiwifruit, Raspberries and Blackberries.

“You can take any of these courses individually or take them all to become a pruning master. In these self-paced online courses, you will navigate through several 10–20 minute video lectures. You will have access to the course and the materials for one year after you enroll. You will also receive a bundle discount if you enroll in multiple courses at the same time.” (OSU)

Radiation-munching fungi are thriving on the walls of Chernobyl’s reactors. (

Mosquitoes are drawn to flowers as much as people — and now scientists know why. (James Urton, University of WA; UWNews)

Fun and informative video: Licking bees and pulping trees: The reign of a wasp queen. (Kenny Coogan, TED-ED via

Evaluating the hidden risks of herbicides– Gut microbes of wasps evolve after exposure to common treatment, leading to pesticide resistance, study says (Mary Todd Berman, Harvard Gazette)

OSU Photo Archive

Accuracy varies for commercially available soil test kits analyzing Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and pH. (Ben Faber, et al; American Society of Horticulture Science)

Stunning! – The magical beauty of looking up at trees in the middle of a forest captured by photographer. (Beauty of the

Scientists learn how plants manipulate their soil environment to assure a cheap, steady supply of nutrients. (Rice University via

‘Profound’ evolution: Wasps learn to recognize faces. One wasp species has evolved the ability to recognize individual faces among their peers—something that most other insects cannot do—signaling an evolution in how they have learned to work together.” (Cornell U via

Fruit Tree Pruning Basics. (Jim Downer,

Revised OSU publication: Noncrop Host Plants of Spotted Wing Drosophila in North America. (Amy Dreves, et al, OSU)

Plants copy nematode pheromones to repel infestations. (Sterling Admin,

Fail to plan or plan to fail? Planning for a year of garden success. (John Porter,

Urban gardens contain too much organic matter, OSU study finds. (Kym Pokorny, OSU via

We’ve figured out how mosquitos sense our warmth.Unfortunately, they still seem to be able to find us without it.“ (John Timmer,

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

Asian Giant Hornet, WSDA

Pest Alert: Asian Giant Hornet-This month, [December] WSDA entomologists identified a large hornet found near the Canadian border as an Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), an invasive species not previously found in Washington State.”

Researchers discover a potential window for managing insects without chemicals. (Simon Fraser University)

Houseplant Problems- A diagnostic guide. (Paul C. Pecknold, Purdue University)

When good plants go bad-some native plants can behave as invasive species. (American Society for Horticultural Science via

Video: The Life of Blister Beetles.(Insect Worlds, Episode 3 Preview, BBC Four via youtube)

Vanilla is anything but Vanilla. (Indefenseofplants)

Introduction to Abiotic Disorders in Plants​​-Great detailed info! (Megan Kennelly, Judith O’Mara, Cary Rivard-Kansas State; G. Lee Miller, U of Missouri; Damon Smith, U of Wisconsin-Madison; American Phytopathological Society)

Woodpecker damage, OSU, PNW Handbook

Woodpeckers: Friends or Foes? (Bec Wolfe-Thomas,

Oregon Small Farm News publication. (Oregon State University)

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants. “Non-native plants are providing new homes for Britain’s insects – some of which are rare on native plants, a new study has found.” (University of York)

Video: Travel deep inside a leaf – Annotated Version. (California Academy of Sciences via YouTube)

Spotted Wing Drosopila, Vaughn Walton OSU

“This has been one of the worst years’- Oregon farmers are losing billions to fruit flies.” (Kelsey Christensen and staff via

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

PNW Disease Managment Handbook. Image: OSU

History of the PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook.

Realism of Harvard’s Glass Flowers still dazzles. (Tracee M. Herbaugh,

More on the Harvard Glass flowers: (

Soil or dirt? It’s really up to you. (

Soil myth busting for extension educators: reviewing the literature on soil structure and functionality. (Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU; A.J. Downer, U of CA via NACAA)

Plants emit sounds too high for human ears when stressed out. (

The dynamic details of unusual plants captured in singular moments by photographer Helene Schmitz.  Stunning. (

Growing camouflage. “…there are at least two groups of arthropods that take their camouflage to a whole new level by actively growing miniature gardens on their bodies.”  (

Lichen. Photo: OSU

The unexpectedly weird and beautiful world of lichens.  “Lichens are not what you think they are.  Not plant, not fungus-they are one of a kind.” (Jaymi Heinbuch,

A mushroom is saving millions of bees from a deadly virus. “Researchers suspect the mushroom either boosts their immune system or somehow fights the viruses.” (John Vibes via

Is fertilizer a friend or foe to disease-causing organisms? (

Roots. Photo: Linda Chalker-Scott

The myth of fragile roots. (Linda-Chalker-Scott, WSU)

Dung Beetles navigate bia the Milky Way, first known in Animal Kingdom. (Christine Dell’Amore,

More on Dung Beetles (VIDEO): The dance of the dung beetle. (Marcus Byrne, Tedtalk, via