Make Your Own Native Bee Nesting Tubes For Free

I have been raising mason bees for years which means I am always buying new nesting tubes. That gets a little expensive. But over the weekend I attended a workshop down at Oregon State University and learned how to make tubes for free; not only for mason bees but for many of our other native cavity nesting bees.

Oregon’s native bees are great pollinators and providing nesting sites can increase their populations and for many crops will result in better yields. In modern landscapes we tend to be neat and tidy which often results in the removal of nesting sites. Bee hotels are a way to keep a manicured yard while still providing nesting sites.

Mason bees are the poster child for these native bees and many homeowners and schools are raising them these days. There are many other solitary bees such as Continue reading “Make Your Own Native Bee Nesting Tubes For Free”

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Long-tailed Weasel Kits

Long-tailed Weasels Mustela frenata are the larger of the two weasels in Oregon. The head is flattened, the body is long and their legs are short. They are brown dorsally and yellowish ventrally except for a white chin. The tail is long with a black tip. They can be found throughout the state.

While checking my snake study boards I found a litter of four kits under a piece of tin. Female weasels will hide their kits in a secure location while she forages for food. In the picture above you will notice a cache of food that includes three adult voles and a juvenile. The mother will move the kits to a new location if Continue reading “Long-tailed Weasel Kits”

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Oregon Native Bees Found on Farm

Oregon has around 500 species of native bees and I was curious to find out which ones were flying about my farm. So I anxiously awaited a report from Sarah Kincaid’s first trapping session. Sarah is spearheading the Oregon Bee Project which is a cooperative effort between the Oregon Department of Agriculture and other collaborators. Its aim is to protect Oregon pollinators that are vital to the state’s production of specialty crops.

Here is a list of what was found in the first trapping session: Continue reading “Oregon Native Bees Found on Farm”

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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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