Category Archives: People

People stories.

March 2023 – Quick updates!

Howdy to our followers! My name is Bryant McDowell. I am the new Extension Program Specialist in Urban Integrated Pest Management located at the Dallas Research and Extension Center. I started my position with AgriLife in September 2022 and spent most of the Fall in new hire training and getting a feel for my new responsibilities. In addition to maintaining this webpage, I will be managing the IPM Experience House located here at the Dallas Center. This training facility is utilized to provide in-depth, hands-on learning opportunities to… Read More →

Dr. Mike Merchant Retires After 30+ Years with Extension

The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service celebrated the retirement of a longtime professor and Extension Entomologist during a virtual celebration held on August 7. Merchant, a Professor and Extension Entomologist in Dallas, will be retiring on August 31. He has been with Extension for more than 30 years when he joined as an Urban Entomologist in the District 4 offices located in the Dallas area. His career highlights started in 1993 when Merchant was named Chair of the statewide School IPM Advisory Committee. As… Read More →

Dr. Don R. Read

The next best thing to being great, it’s been said, is walking next to someone great. I am grateful to have had the chance to meet and get to know the late Dr. Don R. Read, who passed away on March 21, 2019. He was one of our local colorectal surgeons in Dallas, and a great man in many ways. Dr. Read made his (unfortunate) acquaintance with entomology in 2005 when he was bitten by a mosquito infected with the west Nile virus. He told his story of… Read More →

2nd Edition of Garden Insects of North America

The Master Gardeners I have trained over the years may remember the big stacks of books I bring with me to every insect class.  I love books and use them a lot in my job. One of the most useful references I use and recommend to Extension volunteers is the Princeton University Press Garden Insects of North America.  It’s been a great resource, and a bargain to boot, since it came out in 2004. Now Garden Insects of North America has a second edition.  The original author, Whitney Cranshaw… Read More →

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 →