Category Archives: Interesting insects

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

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 →

Forget honey bees, worry about Monarchs

Don’t misunderstand me. I like honey bees.  And like most people I talk with, I’m aware of the threat to honey bees posed by the latest calamity facing beekeepers, the “colony collapse disorder”.  Managed bee colonies in our country and around the world are dying off at alarming rates. And this is not good. But honey bees are not native to the New World. If all the honey bees in the U.S. were to die tomorrow, agriculture would take a devastating hit, and we would see an immediate… Read More →

Damselflies of Texas

Any damselfly lovers out there? If you’re not sure what a damselfly is, it’s the dainty cousin of the dragonfly. Anyone who’s sat next to a Texas river or lake has likely been visited by one of these colorful beauties. Now there’s a field guide for Texas damselflies from the University of Texas Press.  Called Damselflies of Texas, it is the latest offering from John Abbott, entomology curator at the Texas Natural Science Center, Brackenridge Field Laboratory Insect Collection.  John’s one of our premier insect photographers in the… Read More →

Preview of new Disneynature film

If any of you are of the approximate same age as me, you may have grown up watching the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.  My siblings and parents and I always looked forward to the chance to watch Disney animation or movies like Mary Poppins, or highly entertaining nature films. My how things have changed.  I would be surprised if a 1960s era Disney production could hold the attention of a media-savvy child of the 2000s.  Fortunately, Disney has evolved with the times, and the quality… Read More →

The Mother bug

Sehirus cinctus (see HERE us  SINK tuss) is usually an obscure little bug, bothering nobody and noticed by few humans.  The past week, however, I’ve received several inquiries about thousands of little black “beetles” (actually bugs) crawling over lawns, driveways and even dogs.  Also known as the white-margined burrowing bug, Sehirus cinctus is an example of one of those insects that can go along for years unnoticed, then all of a sudden, BOOM.  They’re everywhere. Sehirus is particularly interesting for its behavior.  The adults and nymphs feed on… Read More →

Stopping catcus moth

Texas is under attack.  From lake-hogging zebra mussels and giant salvinia, to chilli thrips (a new pest of roses) and crape myrtle scale, insects from other countries seem to be entering the state at a record pace.  NPR.org recently published an update on the cactus moth invasion at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134914916.  The cactus moth has undoubtedly been assisted by man, but appears to have made at least some of its journey unassisted by hopping from island to island across the Caribbean from South America. This particular moth threatens the cactus… Read More →

Oak gall midges

I recently received a sample of thousands of tiny (1-1/5 mm) maggots collected from a local yard.  The sample was collected by Susan Bailey of Plano, who noticed writhing masses of these worm-like critters on her driveway and ground under a live oak tree. Now anyone who lives around live oaks knows that for the past ten days or so these trees have been showering the world with pollen and the senescent catkins (male flowers).  These tiny larvae are occasionally reported under oak trees shortly after flowering. After… Read More →