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Upcoming programs:

Food Preservation classes: Contact the Extension office (503 397-3462) for details. To register online go to : .

These classes are $20 apiece. Drying Fruits, Vegetables, and Meat (8/20), The Science and Art of Canning Salsa (August 28). All will be held at the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District Office, 35285 Millard Rd, St Helens, OR 97051 

Hunt to Home: Game Processing

Saturday, September 21, 2019, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Columbia Soil & Water Conservation District office at Mil-lard Road in St. Helens. $40

Are you a novice or seasoned hunter looking to improve your butchering and processing skills? Class includes hands-on butchery instruction, freezer wrapping, and a pressure canning demonstration. Preregister.

Got food preservation questions? Give us a call at 503-397-3462. You can also get your pressure gauge tested for free at the Extension office. Food Preservation recipes and fact sheets can be accessed online at:

August is insect month

August has lots of insects and spiders. The largest and showiest ones seem to find their way to the Extension office with regularity.

Columbia County has crickets, katydids, and cicadas. Those with the ears to hear have noticed that their “songs” are just starting. A few chirps here or there. But rest assured, by this weekend there should be a lot more. As night temperatures warm, so do these insects. Mating is on their mind and their songs are designed to attract the perfect female to the right male. Cricket sounds please our ears since they are relatively “clear” tones. The two other groups tend to make more rasping and even abrasive sounds, interesting but less comforting. Cicadas make their sounds in the day but katydids and crickets perform at night. The warmer the night, the faster the sounds pulse. Here is link to an NPR piece on discerning the various sounds:

Last August through September, there was a lot of fall webworm activity along Highway 30 from Rainier to Sauvie Island. I am seeing a little activity lately but it isn’t clear where or how bad they will be. Their characteristic webbing is visible on numerous trees. In the home landscape, apples and walnuts seem to get a lot of their attention. Control is not necessary. The leaf-feeding damage they do is temporary. Once they are protected by that web, cutting them out is about the only choice and that only makes sense if you would have pruned that limb out anyway.

A spectacular insect is the banded alder borer. This insect lays its eggs in dead or dying wood, especially alders. The beetle can fly. The adult emerges as a long beetle of one and half to three or more inches with black and white bands on its back. It has very large antennae which are also banded black and white. People with alder firewood often find the adults emerging or trying to lay eggs. They are not home or structural pests and do not need spraying. This is a great insect with which to start an insect collection. Picture from Introduction to North American Beetles by Papp.

Another interesting character is the ten-lined June beetle. It can also fly and is often attracted to outside lights. It is an oval insect, rather stout and about 1.5 inches long. It has ten (count them) white lines down their back against a brownish background. While this beetle has fearsome larva that are reputed to go for Douglas fir seedlings, I have nev-er seen any plants damaged by them nor heard of anyone spraying for them. They make a distinctive whirring noise if you approach or handle them. 

Termites on the wing

Flying termites don’t indicate that your house is infested with termites. The insects are part of our wood decay cycle and are very common. They certainly have been around far longer than humans in this landscape. The reproductive stage of the two termite species fly this time of year to mate. Fertilized queens drop to earth, shed their wings and look for a suitable home. Suitable is the key. A dampwood termite requires continuously wet wood. If there is no dirt piled up against your house or leaking pipes in the walls, you don’t have to worry about the dampwood termite. They can’t live there. If you have a wet wood infestation, replace the damaged wood and correct the source of the moisture. Treatment is rarely justified.

The subterranean termite is more devious. It must have moisture. But it can conduct moisture up mud tubes from the earth into your house structure. Crawl under your house once a year to look for these tubes. If you find them, you may then need to hire an exterminator.

But don’t get too complacent. Carpenter ants are our number one wood destroying pest in Columbia County and they are very dangerous. They don’t require wet wood, though they do readily infest it. But that is a story for another column. If you suspect a carpenter ant infestation, you should have your house inspected and develop a treatment plan.

Chip Bubl: OSU Extension/Columbia County. 503 397-3462. 505 N. Columbia River Highway, St. Helens, OR 97051

Many Extension publications available online

Are you putting up salsa, saving seeds, or thinking about planting grapes? OSU has a large number of its publications available for free download. Just go to Click on publications and start exploring.

The Extension Service offers its programs and materials equally to all people.

Contact information for the Extension office

Oregon State University Extension Service – Columbia County. 505 N. Columbia River Highway St. Helens, OR 97051. 503 397-3462 Email:


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