Category Archives: Pests of landscapes

Posts dealing with insects that affect landscape plants, turf.

Pest Alert! White-margined burrower bug

Pest Alert! White-margined burrower bug Within one week, Extension Entomology has received insect identification requests from Districts 8 and 11 for a small, dark insect appearing by the thousands and covering structures and plants. The insect can be present in high numbers in fields, woodlands, lawns, and gardens. This is Sehirus cinctus, the white-margined burrower bug, a true bug that occasionally has outbreak years in parts of Texas. The nymphs (immature stages) have a red and black coloration, and the adults are black with a lighter tint along… Read More →

Clover Mites: Tiny Creatures, Big Impact

I have had a few individuals (homeowners and pest management professionals) reach out to me about infestations of tiny mites that are aggregating on their structures, windowsills, and even seeing them invade indoors! For most of us in Texas, we won’t ever have to battle the army of microscopic mites – known as clover mites, or brown mites. In north Texas, however, this may be a sight we are all too familiar with as the end of winter approaches and temperatures rise. The clover mite, scientifically known as… Read More →

Spring Pests: What to Expect as Temperatures Rise

As the chill of winter fades and temperatures begin to rise, a variety of insect pests start to make their presence known. Environmental factors such as an increase in temperature and the moisture we often see during the spring season will signal over-wintering arthropods to emerge during these favorable times. Here’s a look at some of the common pests you might encounter in and around your home during spring. Ants: Arguably the most notable ant pest in the Texas landscape is the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA). The… Read More →

Asian Lady Beetle Invasions

It is that time of year when Asian Lady Beetles make an appearance indoors, and usually in large numbers. While they can be a major nuisance, they shouldn’t cause panic and some simple exclusion practices can help prevent this issue in the future. Asian Lady Beetles are not native to Texas – they were introduced from Asia to the United States in 1960s and 1990s as a UDSA project to help reduce agricultural pests in several Southern and Eastern States from Louisiana to Connecticut.  They are now found… Read More →

Emerald ash borer in Denton

  When Denton urban forester Haywood Morgan moved to Texas from Milwaukee, Wisconsin six years ago he thought he was leaving the devastating emerald ash borer behind.  Instead the ash borer found him again. Morgan became reacquainted with EAB this month during a trip to look at some sick ash trees along a Denton, Texas street. After inspecting ash borer-like damage on the 11 year old ash, his experienced eye caught a glimpse of shiny green.  A quick grab and he had it–what appears to be the first… Read More →

A prickly situation

Prickly pear cactus has its detractors.  Long hated for its long spines with a bite, and its clusters of barbed spines (glochids) that are heck to remove, it has been cursed, hacked, burned and sprayed. But prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) is also used by a variety of  wildlife and cattle, and is prized as a part of the Mexican-American diet.  There is even a small industry devoted to rearing insects, called cochineal scale, that feed exclusively on prickly pear (these scales produce a vivid red dye, called cochineal… Read More →

Good Sams discover exotic borer in Tarrant County

Last summer Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist, Sam Kieschnick, was going through pictures on iNaturalist and saw a picture of an insect taken by someone he knew. It was a shot of a shiny green beetle that 10-year-old nature enthusiast, Sam Hunt, had snapped in his own driveway near Eagle Mountain Lake in west Tarrant County. Something about the picture bothered biologist Sam, so he forwarded it to colleagues who were experts in a group of insects called buprestid beetles. The expert consensus seemed to be that 10-year-old… Read More →

Miller moths

If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, or any other place that has had a recent outbreak of fall armyworm caterpillars, you may have noticed an increase in fast-flying, grey-brown moths. I started noticing these last week, and they appear to be growing in numbers today. If you drive early in the morning, or in the evening, you might even catch these moths in your car headlights. It’s all part of a circle of life: moths lay eggs, which turn into caterpillars, which pupate (think of a… Read More →

The surprising fall armyworm

I’ve noticed something lately. People are consistently amazed when nature intrudes on their lives, as if it’s a great exception to some law that states “nothing unusual should ever happen to me.” Whether it’s hurricanes or a snake in the house, or something as mundane as a caterpillar outbreak, the usual reaction is astonishment.  That seems to be the common thread among callers this week with regard to the latest fall armyworm outbreak. I say “latest,” because fall armyworms are nothing new. According to Dr. Allen Knutson, extension agricultural… Read More →

How to treat your crapemyrtle for bark scale

YouTube is both a tremendous waste of time and also one of the best things to happen to DIYers in, like,… forever.  I find myself checking it constantly for instructions on how to do everything, from troubleshooting my computer to making repairs on my car.  So why not a video on how to control crapemyrtle bark scale? What is crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS)? It’s a small sap-feeding insect that lives on the bark of certain plants, especially crapemyrtle. Thanks to its sugary excrement, it turns crapemyrtles with beautiful… Read More →