Three years ago, my field season was so affected by yellowjackets (FIG. 1) that I decided to find out what I could learn about them. Their abundance, activity, what influences populations, etc. It was actually harder than I thought to find information! This was noted by a 2018 paper , where the team investigated 908 published papers over almost 40 years and yep – less than 3% of them were wasp-related (FIG. 2).

Despite the importance of both taxa, bees are universally loved whilst wasps are universally despised.”

Seirian Sumner et al., 2018
FIGURE 1 – Wasps are predatory, and can interfere with VegNet data collection because they enter traps and consume the moth bodies! Tough to get an accurate count of corn earworm when all that’s left are the wings!
FIGURE 2 – Unequal research effort of these related Hymenoptera, as noted in a 2018 paper (link provided above).

Now, the same author has released a new paper highlighting the benefits of wasps. They provide ecological services like predation of pest insects and pollination (FIG. 3). Wasp venom is even being investigated as a potential cancer treatment. Read the news story here: https://www.wired.com/story/whats-the-point-of-wasps-anyway/ and remember that next time you reach for the swatter or spray can, you might be disrupting a beneficial insect!

FIGURE 3 – Ecosystem services provided by stinging wasps. From: Biological Reviews, First published: 29 April 2021, DOI: (10.1111/brv.12719)

Some growers tend to think of birds as chronic annoyances. Solutions range from preventative tactics (netting and birddogs) to scare tactics such as artificial predator calls and driving around the farm firing empty shells at murders – sound familiar?

But a new study suggests that certain birds can – and should – be welcomed as a part of an overall sustainable farming strategy. The link below explains:

https://wildfarmalliance.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=1ed09c921c1a4e0b94d42934f87f6870

Content source: Wild Farm Alliance. We do not necessarily endorse them nor their views, but are simply providing a link to the report as ‘food for thought’.

Remember to subscribe to receive up-to-date information via email! We alert you of insect pest activity for nearly half the year (24 weeks), the service is currently free, and we promise to not bother you for the other 28 weeks, nor share your email address.

Notable trends during the week of June 24th include:

  • Cabbage Looper moth counts continue to be extremely high, we are likely seeing the 2nd generation, which is considered the most damaging for brassica crops.
  • Armyworms have wide host ranges but can be especially damaging in grasses, pastures, and field crops.
    • One species, in particular, seems to be booming this year. It is called the “Thoughtful Apamea“, which is closely related to glassy cutworm, but habits and host range are largely unknown.
    • Conversely, True Armyworm is well-studied and we have been collaborating on a project to monitor them in Tillamook County. So far, counts are low, but if you’re interested, trap counts will always be posted here: https://beav.es/ZQM
  • Beneficial Insects include pollinators, predators, and parasitoids that provide some type of ecosystem service. As natural enemies of pests, their activity tends to lag slightly. We have noted an increase in Syrphidae and Tachinidae flies this week, as monitored by passive sampling techniques.