Tag Archives: Texas

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 →




Getting tested for Zika






So you and your significant other are considering whether to get pregnant; but the summer’s headlines about Zika virus and its effect on developing babies has you worried.  Or maybe you’ve just returned from traveling to an area where Zika is active.  You’ve not experienced symptoms of Zika, but you’ve been around others with the disease and you know that 4 out of 5 people who get Zika show no symptoms.  You wonder if you might be infectious to your spouse or partner (Zika can be sexually transmitted). In both cases a test… Read More →




Emerald ash borer enters Texas






If you’re a Texan and haven’t heard about an insect called the emerald ash borer, that’s about to change.  The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that feeds almost exclusively on ash (Fraxinus spp.) and has been slowly spreading through the eastern and midwest states from Michigan where it was first discovered in 2002. On May 23 the Texas Forest Service, along with the U.S. Forest Service, announced that four EAB beetles had been discovered on a trap in Harrison County, TX along the Louisiana border.  Although… Read More →




Your chance to hear REAL cicadas






Texans are no strangers to cicadas.  One writer in 1933 proclaimed east Texas “a veritable cicada paradise,” before going on to list all the different species he had encountered here. Indeed, you would have to be hard of hearing, or very unobservant, not to notice the buzzing sounds of annual cicadas coming from nearly every summertime tree between June and August. Even if the annual singing of cicadas is not your cup of tea, you have to marvel at the once every seventeen year emergence of the periodical cicadas.  Sometimes deafening, the periodic… Read More →




Getting cities ready for mosquito season






After the horrible year for West Nile virus in 2012, many Texas cities woke up to the need to devote more people and health department resources to mosquito management.  To assist cities in training employees in the area of mosquito abatement, Dr. Sonja Swiger with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has begun offering workshops covering the basics of mosquito identification, biology and control. This year we will have workshops in nine cities, including Dallas.  Dates and links to brochures and registration information are listed below.  If you work… Read More →




Powwowing about pollinators






Pollinator protection has become almost trendy recently. One of the spin offs of the honey bee controversy over CCD, is that the spotlight has come to rest not just on honey bees, but on all insects that pollinate plants. And this is a good thing. Today nearly everyone at some point is taught in school, or via Discovery Channel, that bees pollinate flowers; but I’ll wager that relatively few understand what this really means to all of us.  Pollination is the biological process by which female plant parts are… Read More →