Intraguild Predation in Oregon Ground Beetles

Simply put, intraguild predation is the killing and eating of potential competitors. It is a combination of predation and competition because both species involved rely on the same prey resources and therefore benefit from preying upon one another.

In the video below you can see an Omus audouini dragging off an Anisodactylus binotatus. It is clearly a case of predation and not scavenging as the A. binotatus is alive and trying to get away. Both beetles were discovered under one of my snake study boards along the riparian border on the north side of my tall fescue field. The O. audouini is commonly called Audouin’s Night-stalking Tiger Beetle and he’s a fierce predator.

Continue reading “Intraguild Predation in Oregon Ground Beetles”

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Planning an Oregon Beetle Bank

Four years ago I read about the benefits of building a beetle bank as part of my Master Gardener training. While they began in Great Britain, Gwendolyn Ellen and her colleagues at Oregon State University have been studying their effectiveness on organic farms here in the Willamette Valley for years. As an ag biodiversity proponent, anything I can do on my farm to encourage native pest predators naturally peaks my interest. And so I spent the last few years reading all the research papers I could find on beetle banks and the predaceous beetles that they get their name from.

Beetle banks are raised strips of land installed in the middle of crops that are planted with native bunch grasses and sometimes forbes, which provide Continue reading “Planning an Oregon Beetle Bank”

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Oregon Bee Project Looks for Native Pollinators

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has launched the Oregon Bee Project to help improve and ensure the health of 500-plus native species of bees that pollinate many of our crops. This program will include field research, public outreach and education, and the creation of an Oregon Bee Farm Certification to reward farmers who adopt bee-friendly practices.

They are looking for six flagship farms that already have suitable pollinator habitat. Part of the evaluation process is setting out traps to get an idea of what native bees are present on these farms. And to that end, Sarah Kincaid, entomologist with the ODA paid our farm a visit and put out three blue vane traps. These traps were developed for trapping beetles but researchers soon noticed that they were effective Continue reading “Oregon Bee Project Looks for Native Pollinators”

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Easiest Way to Harvest Milkweed Seeds

You have to be living in a hole if you have not heard of the concern for the decline in Monarch populations across the United States. Much of the loss is thought to be destruction of habitat and of the native milkweed species that provide food for the Monarch larvae. In response, many organizations have started propagating milkweed and in some cases are giving away free milkweed seeds. However, if you are lucky enough to stumble upon a patch of milkweed close to where you live, you may want to collect some of the seeds yourself.

For all the hype of milkweed being a weed, in the case of Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), it sure does not Continue reading “Easiest Way to Harvest Milkweed Seeds”

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Native Pollinators Pushed Out By Honey Bees

The urban beekeeping fad is still going strong in the United States with city and rural folks jumping in on this exciting agricultural hobby. For some it’s the lure of fresh honey; pure in form with no water added. For others it is part of the larger gardening craze called pollinator gardens. And I suspect for most people, it’s a little of both.

On the commercial side, honey bee pollination is critical to the agriculture system that has emerged here in the United States. Crops such as blueberries and cherries, are 90-percent dependent on honey bees and almond growers rely entirely on the honey bee for pollinating their trees. It is estimated that more than a million colonies are needed each year in California just to pollinate the state’s almond crop. Some argue that if it weren’t for the introduction of the honey bee, we would not be the agricultural powerhouse we are.

But this success story is not without a down side. Continue reading “Native Pollinators Pushed Out By Honey Bees”

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