Category Archives: News

Information about upcoming events, changes in the Insects in the City website, and things to check out.

2016 Entomology Specialist Training Announced






One of the great opportunities offered to Master Naturalists and Master Gardener volunteers in Texas is a wide array of specialized training opportunities.  Entomology has its own version of this with Master Volunteer Entomology Specialist training. Offered every year, MVES training is a multiday event designed to expand on normal entomology training every Master Volunteer receives during the internship program.  The curriculum is designed to appeal to both Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers with an interest in insects.  Everyone who completes the course and volunteer hours on… Read More →




First mosquito of the season






Before it’s old news, I wanted to make it official.  It’s Aedes (AID ees) season again in north Texas.  Last weekend I spotted my first Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquitoes) of the season.  So from now until November, get used to having these pesky mosquitoes around. Alex Wild, curator of the insect museum at the University of Texas in Austin (the OTHER Texas University) tweeted his first Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) of the season a month ago.  Since then I’ve been tempting my local backyard mosquito population with my succulent, winter-white legs… Read More →




Zika Virus: What you need to know






Last December I wrote about bracing for a new mosquito-borne disease called Zika.  Since then, evidence of a connection between Zika virus and two scary health conditions called Guillian-Barré syndrome and microcephaly has grown. Although there are still no known cases of Zika being acquired from mosquitoes locally, from within the U.S., there is a real possibility that Zika virus could reach Texas this summer.  If so, these issues will become as important to the average stay-at-home Texan, as it is to those folks who are willing to… Read More →




Lyme disease ticks in Texas






The good news is that the number of Lyme disease cases appears to be low and even declining in Texas.  The bad news is that the tick that carries Lyme disease is well established in Texas and its range appears to be expanding. Even though we don’t hear as much about it here in Texas, Lyme disease is the most common insect-transmitted disease in the U.S.–even more than west Nile virus.  Caused by a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, and carried by infected black-legged ticks, Lyme can be a chronic… Read More →




All Bugs Good and Bad webinar series






If part of your new year resolutions was to take charge of your life (and enhance your knowledge base about insects!) have we got a deal for you.  This year the eXtension group (pronounced EE-extension) is offering a new series of webinars on insect-related topics that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your easy chair or desk or wherever you log on. For gardeners topics will include fruit and vegetable insect control, fire ants, bee protection, proper fertilization and even snakes!  For homeowners and apartment dwellers,… Read More →




Bracing for ZIKA






Will Zika be the next mosquito-borne disease to capture headlines in 2016?  Or will it be the little disease that few (at least in the U.S.) have heard of?  That’s the question being debated by public health officials this year. For many years it seemed like new things happened relatively slowly in public health in Texas. In the mid 1980s entomologists reported the Asian tiger mosquito in Texas for the first time–a daytime-flying mosquito from Japan that is not shy about biting humans. Then in 2002 the first cases of west Nile virus… Read More →




Kissing bug identification requires closer look






Because most of us take little time to look closely at insects, it should not be surprising that recent television stories about “kissing bugs” and Chagas disease have created a frenzy of sorts among people thinking they have captured or seen kissing bugs around the home.  While a few of these have turned out to be actual kissing bugs (genus Triatoma), most are not; and laboratories set up to identify and test kissing bugs have been overwhelmed this month with samples. But not all insects vaguely resembling the pictures you… Read More →




Sharing the Million Pollinator Challenge






This week I had the opportunity to attend the First National Conference on Protecting Pollinators in Ornamental Landscapes.  The meeting took place outside of scenic Asheville, NC and drew entomologists, industry personnel and extension educators from all over the country.  I thought I would use this post to help me digest some of the things I learned, and pose my readers a challenge. First of all, it was nice to get the chance to interact with folks on both sides of the bee wars–that culture/science clash between the green community… Read More →




Hackberry defoliator in north Dallas area






Over the past few weeks I’ve had several emails concerning a small caterpillar infesting hackberry in the Flowermound and Grapevine, TX area especially.  After some initial head scratching over fuzzy pictures sent via email, my lab employees went caterpillar hunting yesterday and brought back a good haul of larvae feeding on sugarberry trees, Celtis laevigata. After sending pictures to colleagues, James McDermott of College Station identified the critters as Sciota celtidella, an obscure moth that has been recorded feeding on hackberry, Celtis occidentalis (Alma Solis, Bull. Biolog. Soc. of WA May… Read More →




New-bee volunteers






A new resource was birthed this spring with the first graduating class of apprentice Master Beekeepers.  In March the Texas Master Beekeeper program graduated its first class of 68 volunteers specializing in bee culture and protection. Like its cousins, the Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs, the Master Beekeeper program is intended to nurture trained volunteers to assist with public service and educational programs.  But the Master Beekeepers will work on projects primarily related to honey bees. With this first class Texas joins Florida, Georgia, Oregon and other Master Beekeeping… Read More →