Category Archives: Exotic pests

Recognizing emerald ash borer damage

This summer my assistant spent the better part of her summer hanging and checking over 100 purple sticky traps to determine whether Texas has been invaded yet by the dreaded emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis.  The beetle has already been detected in neighboring states of Arkansas and Louisiana; but much to our relief, after thousands of miles of winding county roads and many hundreds of traps, neither she nor our colleagues in the Texas Forest Service or Sam Houston State University found a single EAB.  However, this beetle is elusive.  And… Read More →

Borer gets a little closer

What’s shiny and Godzilla green, easily fits on a penny, and has resulted in the death of tens of millions of trees over the past dozen years? If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you might guess the emerald ash borer (EAB).  Over the past few years my colleagues and I have been involved with a monitoring project designed to detect the first EAB entering north Texas.  During this time I’ve watched the beetles inch closer to Texas–moving from its initial point of invasion in Michigan throughout the Ohio River valley and… Read More →

Scale insect misery loves company

It’s probably true that misery loves company. For the past several years we gardeners in the Dallas area have sadly watched our beautiful crape myrtle trees succumb to a new insect pest.  The crape myrtle bark scale is a messy little critter that causes trunks to blacken and plants to drip sticky bug poop. True, it’s small consolation to know that the scale that invaded Texas has now spread to at least six other states and appears to be ready to follow crape myrtle in the U.S. wherever it is… Read More →

Crape myrtle bark scale reduces bloom

As the crape myrtle bark scale spreads throughout Texas, one of the first questions we hear is “will the scale kill my tree?” The answer appears to be “no”, at least not often.  To date we’ve not been able to show any crape myrtle tree death as a result of a bark scale infestation.  But like many sap-feeding scale insects, these little scales can stress and reduce the appearance of the trees, while producing a prodigious amount of sticky “honeydew” that can coat the leaves and anything under the tree… Read More →

Update on new scale pest of crape myrtle

Texans (and many other southerners) love their crape myrtles!  And why not?  It’s one of the few trees that bear colorful flower displays through much of the summer, come in a variety of stunning colors, is easy to grow, and until now has been relatively pest free.  Unfortunately, the pest-free reputation is changing with the advent of a new exotic scale pest. Several years ago I wrote about a new scale pest of crape myrtle.  At that time we speculated that it was a newly introduced species of… Read More →

A berry bad pest

As if we needed more insect pests!  Now there is a new pest of berries that is spreading rapidly around the U.S.  The spotted wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, is a native of Japan and was first discovered in California in 2008.  It has spread quickly to berry growing areas on the west and east coasts, as well as Canada, Michigan and the northeast.  It showed up in Colorado last year, and the first specimen in Texas was found by a faculty member in the entomology department at Texas… Read More →

What to do if you’re attacked by bees?

While honey bees are highly beneficial to man, they can also be dangerous.  If you don’t believe this, consider two Texas incidents this summer.  In June, a Waco area man was killed by honey bees while working on his tractor.  This past weekend a couple was severely stung and two of their miniature horses were killed following a bee attack at their Tarrant county home.  Both incidents illustrate how serious honey bee infestations can be. It’s not that bees are mean, in a human sense. But they do take exception… Read More →

Emerald ash borer discovered in Kansas

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, Texas has been conducting a survey for the past several years to look for the first signs of the highly destructive emerald ash borer.  Although we have beetle samples from this summer currently being evaluated by USDA/APHIS, we have so far seen no sign of the beetle in Texas.  The folks in Kansas, however, have not been so fortunate. The Kansas Department of Agriculture, working with the USDA, has just reported the first known case of EAB in the Kansas City,… Read More →

Baaaad boy! Bad snails.

Seems like every month brings a new horror story in the land of exotic pests.  This one is fascinating and illustrates how a seemingly innocuous action like bringing some soil, seeds, plants or other critter home from vacation can have unforeseen and disastrous consequences. Giant African land snails have been found for the second time in the Miami, Florida area.  According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Science, the last time this happened was in 1966 when a boy smuggled a few snails into Miami as pets.  After… Read More →