Category Archives: People

People stories.

Revenge of the (cricket) nerds






One of the great mysteries of my career as a Texas urban entomologist has been understanding the clouds of crickets that descend on lights and businesses nearly every year.  So I was intrigued last summer when I got an email from a PhD student at Cornell University interested in coming down to study our swarming crickets. Jay Falk is actually a native Texan, who grew up in the Austin area and got his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas.  That’s where he got his first introduction to… 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 →




Losing a good friend






Pardon me for this personal note, but many of you from Texas who read this blog knew Dr. Jim McAfee, retired turfgrass specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife.  Jim passed away Saturday morning, Jan 31, in Richardson, TX. Dr. McAfee was a great friend to many, and a great teacher and mentor for anyone interested in turfgrass and weed management. Jim retired in 2013, but his career spanned four decades of service to the Texas A&M University System.  He also worked for TrueGreen/ChemLawn in both Texas and Georgia. If you… Read More →




Texas A&M’s Inspiring Latina






Juliana Rangel Posada is a relatively new Assistant Professor at Texas A&M specializing in honey bees.  Last week she was named “Inspiring Latina of the Week” by Latina Magazine.  The magazine printed an interview with her that might be of interest, especially to aspiring Latina entomologists. Congratulations to Julia for this honor.  Her arrival at Texas A&M was highly anticipated, as our department had been missing a honey bee biologist for an extended period of time. And bees are an important part of our agricultural economy in Texas…. Read More →




H.S. Stevens longtime Dallas garden writer






My first year in Extension someone told me about this H.S. Stevens fellow, a super-savvy gardener who used a hypodermic syringe to treat his squash vines with Bt (a natural control agent that controls squash vine borer and other caterpillars), and knew everything there was to know about gardening in the Dallas area.  When I finally met H.S., he was pretty much everything I expected.  Gravelly voiced, opinionated and sincerely enthusiastic about his job bringing gardening to kids through his Texas Agricultural Extension Service job. H.S. left Extension… Read More →




An alluring auction






The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M is offering 20 lots of fly fishing supplies on auction this month.  The occasion of the sale is a sad one for all of us in the department, as the fly-tying supplies remained after the passing away of long-time Extension entomologist, Dr. John Jackman.  Dr. Jackman offered a class at Texas A&M on fly tying–the only entomology class that I am aware of that was ever cross-listed with the Art Department. John saw fly tying as an exciting blend of art… Read More →




Car Talk adds wildlife (including insects) section






Any of you who find yourself out driving around on a Saturday morning, and have happened to tune into an NPR station, have probably heard the radio show Car Talk.  Who would have guessed that two goofy brothers answering car maintenance questions on the radio would have been successful?  I wouldn’t.  Yet they’ve become an enormous hit, at least among NPR listeners with cars over a certain age. The Car Talk brothers usually make me laugh.  So I was pleasantly surprised a few months ago when I got… Read More →




Bugguide.net innovator profiled






One of the links we include in the Insect Identification Help page is BugGuide.net.  This is a great site for insect identification and networking with knowledgeable entomologists willing to help anyone get an insect identified. I use it a lot and direct insect enthusiasts there frequently.  Until now, however, I didn’t know a lot about how the site came to be. A recent story from Iowa State University profiles one of the developers of the site, ISU systems analyst  John VanDyk.  Turns out that not only is John… Read More →




Aggie beetle freak






Trying to think of a catchy, but apt, headline that would describe Ed Riley is a little difficult.  But “beetle freak” comes close… in the best sense of the word “freak” of course.  Ed is the associate curator of the Department of Entomology’s insect museum, and if anyone truly loves beetles, it’s Ed. Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine just did a very nice article about Ed in the June edition.  To see an online version, click here.  I understand from Mike Quinn, who took pictures for the story,… Read More →