Category Archives: Interesting insects

Posts on insects that are not necessarily pests, but worthwhile knowing more about.

Superbowl insect ad

I may be one of the few Americans who didn’t see this ad when it came out during the Superbowl (I missed the first half), but since one of our pest management agents forwarded it this week, I am now up-to-speed. The animation on the ad is impressive, and the artists obviously did their homework in designing their lovable bugs. I identified a caterpillar, bumble bee, ants, two kinds of grasshopper, lady beetles, a praying mantis, dragonfly, and (the star of the lineup, in my opinion) a jumping… Read More →

A new threat to honey bees?

The domesticated honey bee’s life is anything but easy. Enslaved by humans to produce honey (for which their hives are regularly raided), uprooted to lead a nomadic life traveling on flatbed trucks from field to orchard, worked year-round, attacked by various mites, fungi and now exotic viruses, is it any wonder that some bees are collapsing from the sheer weight of it all? This accumulation of multiple stresses is, in fact, the current best guess by bee researchers on what is causing the much dreaded “colony collapse disorder”,… Read More →

First scorpion sting antidote

Scorpions are one of those icons of life in Texas. It’s hard to imagine Texas without its droughts, twisters and hurricanes, floods and venomous wildlife. But when it comes to scorpions, Texas is not the riskiest place to live. Arizona and parts of New Mexico are home to the deadliest scorpion, and the target of a new antidote called Anascorp, recently approved by the FDA. Marketed as the first antidote for scorpion stings, Anascorp, Centruroides (Scorpion) Immune F(ab’)2 (Equine) Injection, is made from the plasma of horses immunized… Read More →

Does size matter?

I saw a great image today got me ruminating about size in insects, the measurements we use for size, and the concept of size in general.  The picture below appeared recently in combination with a news story and is of one of the smallest insects in the world.  It is placed, for size reference, next to an amoeba and a Paramecium for scale.  You remember amoebas and Parameciums from elementary or middle school science classes right?  Found in pond water by the kajillions, but only really visible under… Read More →

Little Spartina bug common now in east Texas

Try as we might, we can’t escape nature. That might be the lesson for many folks who live near rural areas in east and central Texas.  This week I’ve had several calls about a small black insect invading homes.  Scientifically it’s known as Ischnodemus falicus, a member of the Lygaeid or seed bug family. This insect has been invading homes in Tyler and the northeastern Texas counties and has also been reported from the College Station area.  It is an example of a typical fall invader–not dangerous or damaging… Read More →

Cirque du Insecte

I’ve been feeling a little guilty about not posting more in the past month, so to make up to my subscribers I thought I’d broadcast a link to this very clever YouTube video posted a couple of days ago by SnapDragon Cell phones. After watching the video I wondered what kind of person gets to come up with these fantasies and make them a reality?  Since this is advertising, I assume it wasn’t just done by someone with too much time on their hands.  To whoever’s responsible I… Read More →

Aquatic aphids

One of the things I love about my job is that there’s always something new to learn.  And one of the things I appreciate about the Insects in the City News Updates is that it gives me someone to share the things I learn with. My discovery this week is aquatic aphids.  Most long-time gardeners know that aphids are pretty adaptable.  Tiny sap-feeders, sometimes erroneously called plant lice, aphids are one of the most common pests of  flowers, trees and vegetable gardens.  Normally found on stems and leaves,… Read More →

Click beetles gone wild

Some of the most interesting, and sometimes amusing, household insects that cross my desk are ones that aren’t in the pest control handbook.  We call these “occasional invaders”, and they are outdoor insects that seemingly accidentally find their way indoors. So far the accidental invader of the month is the click beetle.  Over the past week or two I’ve had nearly a half dozen calls about insects fitting the description of click beetles getting into homes.  One woman complained about the click beetles in her bed.  This is… Read More →

Rose rosette disease transmitted by a mite

This weekend I regretfully cut down two rose bushes on the side of my home.  Within a relatively short period of time they had begun to show symptoms of rose rosette, a fatal virus disease of roses. I had never heard of rose rosette until a recent sample arrived from the Denton County Extension office.  Horticulture agent Janet Laminack wanted to know if the sample was rose rosette.  The symptoms seen on these rose cuttings, I learned, were classic: excessive thorn production, leaf distortion and excessive branch development,… Read More →

Largest Texas Dragonfly

I had a question from a woman this week who wanted to know what the largest dragonfly in Texas was.  She said she had recently spied one that was 8 cm (3.2 inches) long and had a 13 cm (5.1 in) wingspan.  She “figured if anyone would know the answer to the question it would be someone at Texas A&M.” While I was flattered that my correspondent would think that as a representative of Texas A&M I would have all the answers, I had to admit that I… Read More →