Category Archives: Uncategorized

Giant bark aphids

The giant bark aphid, Longistigma caryae, is the largest aphid in North America. Despite its large size, I rarely receive reports of this insect because in most years its numbers are so low. This year, however, Extension specialists have already had multiple reports of the aphid. One of the last times I reported on an outbreak of giant bark aphids was 2002, coincidentally (or not), also during a spring that followed a mild winter. Giant bark aphids are about 6 mm-long (1/4 inch), brownish gray with black spots…. Read More →

An inspiration to all survivors

Are you a survivor?  Then maybe you can relate to the story of the Lord Howe stick insect, Dryococelus australis–at was 12 centimeters long, the heaviest stick insect in the world. It had been as presumed extinct until 2001 when two VERY COMMITTED Australian biologists followed a hunch and climbed up 500 feet in the dark with flashlights to have a look. The story, published in an NPR blog is inspiring and offers a glimmer of hope for anyone who marvels in the diversity of life.  In an age when insect… Read More →

Using pyrethroid insecticides safely

Ten years ago the most common lawn and garden insecticides for consumers contained the active ingredients diazinon and chlorpyrifos (Dursban).  These insecticides were popular because of their relatively quick kill, effectiveness against a wide range of pests, and ability to keep killing for several days to weeks or months.  Today those older products have been completely replaced with a group of insecticides known as pyrethroids. Pyrethroids were judged to be safer both to people and the environment, however recent research has turned up some problems with pyrethroid use… Read More →

Superbowl insect ad

I may be one of the few Americans who didn’t see this ad when it came out during the Superbowl (I missed the first half), but since one of our pest management agents forwarded it this week, I am now up-to-speed. The animation on the ad is impressive, and the artists obviously did their homework in designing their lovable bugs. I identified a caterpillar, bumble bee, ants, two kinds of grasshopper, lady beetles, a praying mantis, dragonfly, and (the star of the lineup, in my opinion) a jumping… Read More →

Would you want your child to be an entomologist?

None of my children showed the slightest interest in being an entomologist when they grew up. In some ways I don’t blame them. I know very few rich or famous entomologists. You probably won’t be asked to sit on a bank board, or have a hospital wing named after you.  But entomology does have its benefits as seen in a new brochure published today by the Entomological Society of America. I remember that when I informed my father that I had decided that I wanted to become an… Read More →

Hello world!

Welcome to AgriLife. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Its the flea's knees…or not

In this NPR Science Friday video, scientists Greg Sutton and Malcolm Burrows, of the University of Cambridge, filmed fleas jumping.  They then sorted through different theories of how they jumped and concluded that fleas use their feet and not knees to push off the ground and jump on your cat or your dog. The high speed photography is amazing and I especially liked the slo-mo- photography of a flea’s jump compared to the blink of a human eye. An adult flea can jump approximately 13 inches, a little… Read More →

Now's the time for dormant oils

Dormant season applications of horticultural oil can be an effective tactic to kill scale insects and their eggs during the winter months. But with the rapid onset of warm spring weather, the window of opportunity is relatively small in north Texas and many other parts of the state. Armored scale like obscure and gloomy scale are especially difficult to treat during the summer months, so the dormant season when leaves are off the trees is an excellent time to treat with a dormant oil. Oils are physical poisons,… Read More →

Don't invite bed bugs home this Christmas

Over the river, and through the wood, To Grandfather’s house we go; GPS shows the way to hotels to stay through the white and drifted snow. Over the river, and through the wood— Oh how the bed bugs bite! They sniff out our toes and bite our nose And hop in our luggage tonight. If you’re among the 10 million plus Americans planning a car trip this Christmas, don’t forget bed bugs. In case you haven’t heard, bed bugs have been as busy as Santa’s elves this year,… Read More →

Nature's Freddy Krueger

According to a recent online discussion among Texas entomologists, add the tiny lacewing larva to the long list of  outdoor critters that can bite and irritate people.  Joe Lapp, spider enthusiast from Austin, TX, recently reported seeing a lacewing larva at the site of a prick-like sensation on his arm while outdoors.  The bite itched over the next two days and left a little red mark, similar to a mosquito bite.  This prompted others to report similar experiences. We normally think of lacewings as beneficial insects–which they are. … Read More →