by Chal Landgren, OSU Extension Christmas Tree Specialist
Anyway it is spelled- Yellowjacket, Yellow Jacket or Yellow-Jacket, these insects are feared and hated not only by picnickers, but by many working in the woods, and in Christmas trees. For Christmas tree growers they can inflict physical and economic pain, since they are unwanted hitchhikers in many shipping destinations.
First some biology- These are not honeybees. Rather, two predatory insects in the genus Vespula, whose common names are the Western Yellowjacket and German Yellowjacket. The Western
Yellowjacket (V. pensylvanica) is a common native. Yes, they are predators, but also scavengers, which makes them a pest at summer BBQs and picnics. The German yellowjacket (V. germanica) is an uncommon non-native species (not wanted in Mexico). Both these insects feed on other insects as well as nectar, honeydew and fruit.
Queens will overwinter in protected locations above or below ground and emerge in May. After the queen emerges she will begin her colony which eventually can include hundreds to thousands of workers. Fertilized queens will emerge again in October or November. Males (stingless) begin to emerge in large numbers in late July. Continue reading →
By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties
It’s a familiar story. A few acres of Christmas trees were planted on the farm, perhaps for tax purposes, or because they were perceived as a low-maintenance investment, or maybe because the market was strong at the time. Fast forward a couple decades…the land has changed hands, and the Christmas trees, well, they never did make it into someone’s living room. Now, the new owner has “escaped” Christmas trees to contend with.
This is the situation at Tualatin River Farm, a 60-acre property now under a conservation easement and being turned into a working educational and demonstration farm and riparian restoration site. About five acres of the site is in this old noble fir plantation, presumed to have been planted for Christmas trees, and estimated to be about 25 years old. The new property managers wish to transform this area into a mixed upland forest, more representative of what might naturally occur on the site. What to do, they asked? Can these trees be saved? Continue reading →
Congratulations to Washington County’s own Dallas and Sharon Boge, Master Woodland Managers from Gales Creek. They grew this year’s State Tree, now on display in the Capitol rotunda in Salem. Thanks to daughter Sue Curtis for supplying the photos. Happy holidays everyone!