Wasps, hornets, bees, other bugs topic at Clallam gardeners’ presentation Saturday in Sequim

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — Wasps and hornets, best known for painful stings, are more plentiful — and more beneficial — than most imagine, and most will never sting, say Clallam County Master Gardeners.

A free Class Act presentation going into the roles such insects play in garden ecosystems will be broken up into three parts from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Master Gardeners’ Woodcock Demonstration Garden at 2711 Woodcock Road.

Gardeners will come away from the presentation with a more complete picture of the life and habits of these often maligned insects and with new knowledge of the garden insect community as a whole.

First, Laurel Moulton, veteran Master Gardener and former program coordinator for the group, will talk about identification and the habits of common members of the Vespid family, which are true wasps.

She will tell how gardeners benefit from the activities of these insects and discuss Washington State University’s recommended techniques for trapping and managing nuisance hornet and wasp colonies.

Moulton dabbled in entomology in graduate school, where she gained a healthy appreciation of the benefits that even stinging insects bring to the garden and the environment as a whole.

Second, entomologist Jerry Freilich will talk about the diversity of bees and wasps.

Most people can name only two or three kinds of bees or wasps, but there are thousands of species in Clallam County, each with its own food prey, habitat and behavior.

Freilich will show examples of some of these and let visitors examine them in the microscope.

30-year study

Freilich has spent the past 30 years studying bees, wasps and aquatic insects. As research coordinator at Olympic National Park, he handles all sorts of science but works with insects whenever possible.

After the presentations, visitors will have a chance to learn about keeping honeybees, look at insect samples under the microscope, get insect samples identified and ask questions.

Veteran Master Gardeners Dee Sudduth and Cindy Eriksen will tell about the insects in the demonstration garden, including the thriving honeybee colony that is established there.

Sudduth worked as a senior entomologist and environmental program manager for the state of California for 34 years.

She specialized in economic pests of major agricultural concern, pest prevention, threatened and endangered species management, environmental review and habitat restoration and management.

Ericksen is an officer of North Olympic Peninsula Beekeepers’ Association who has been keeping bees for seven years and who maintains the hive at the Woodcock Demonstration Garden.

For more information, phone the WSU Master Gardeners of Clallam County at 360-565-2679.

Last modified: August 05. 2014 5:37PM
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