Tag Archives: Texas

Be on the lookout for armyworms

Be on the alert for fall armyworms this fall. Higher-than-normal populations of this lawn-eating insect have been reported from many areas in Texas this past summer and we have started to see them in San Antonio and Austin areas. While fall armyworms are nothing new, according to Wizzie Brown, Extension Program Specialist for IPM in Austin, these worms started appearing in home lawns in late July to early August. Usually, infestations take place in late summer or early fall, but the weather can play a big part. The… Read More →

Bugged by Bugs we want to hear from you.

Has this year had you bugged by bugs? Like many of you even those of us who work in entomology, pest control, school maintenance, or live somewhere in Texas you have seen your fair share of insect pests this year. If you have seen more pests around your home and you have treated for those pesky pests, we would love to hear from you. This short survey we created with funding from USDA NIFA wants to know what you have seen, and if you treated for the pest… Read More →

‘Bugs by the Yard’ and ‘Unwanted Guests’ cover Texas insects and pests

These two bug-based podcasts launched by Texas A&M AgriLife experts allows you to learn on the “fly” by enjoying a podcast on your time schedule.  Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts have launched two new podcast series: “Bugs by the Yard,” which covers insects found in Texas yards and gardens, and “Unwanted Guests,” which covers insects and other pests in homes and buildings. “It started with a podcast where Dr. Erfan Vafaie, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist in Overton, was interviewing other entomologists,” said Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension… 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 →

Giant hornets genuinely frightening

The Asian giant hornet has recently been spotted close to the Canadian border in Washington state. Photo courtesy Washington State Department of Agriculture.   Last year’s quiet arrival of a foreign wasp known as the Asian giant hornet is no longer a secret outside of Washington state.  Within the past few days, all the major TV networks have broadcast stories of the arrival of the wasp to the Pacific Northwest.  Known to entomologists as Vespa mandarinia, it has been named by the press the ‘murder hornet’. It’s hard… Read More →

Kudzu bug in Texas

Last week Texas became the fourteenth state with verified populations of kudzu bug.  An alert county Extension agent, Kim Benton, reported kudzu bugs from a home garden in Rusk, TX, south of Tyler. The bugs were clustered on eggplant and other vegetables before being transplanted into the garden. The kudzu bug saga in the U.S. began in October 2009 when millions of small, pill-like bugs startled homeowners across nine counties in northeast Georgia. The never-before-seen insects covered the sides of homes by the thousands, and concerned citizens began… 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 →

Where has West Nile virus gone?

If it seems you’re hearing less about West Nile virus (WNV) this summer, you are not imagining it.  Although mosquitoes have been abundant this year, for some reason the virus has remained relatively quiet in 2019. Where has WNV gone? A paper written by epidemiologist Dr. Wendy Chung and colleagues in 2013 may offer some insights on the absence of the virus this summer. Those of us who lived in Dallas in 2012 may remember that summer as the worst human outbreak of WNV ever.  Nearly 400 cases were… Read More →

Texas/Oklahoma Pollinator Project

This summer Texas A&M AgriLife is conducting a citizen science project to document the preferred host plants of Texas & Oklahoma pollinators. In the process some energetic volunteers and I will be learning a lot more about how to plant a successful pollinator garden. Last week I presented information about pollinators and how the project works to volunteers in the Dallas area.  If you are signed up as a volunteer, but missed the training, an edited version of the training is available here https://youtu.be/JfSpwlYcM3s  This training should prepare… Read More →

Firefly Month (or it should be)

Flickering lights, like so many Tinkerbells, dancing across lawns are one of the special memories of growing up in the South. This time of year is your best chance to see fireflies, so this week I thought I would give a shout-out to Ben Pfeiffer, a firefly lover who has devoted himself to learning about the fireflies of Texas. Ben has built an entertaining website, called Firefly.org. In it you can learn about the different kinds of fireflies (each has a unique flash pattern), where they live and… Read More →