Author Archives: Rob Williams

Mysterious pest threatens Texas’ billion dollar grain sorghum crop

by Rod Santa Ana WESLACO  –  A tiny insect of unknown origin is posing a serious threat to the billion dollar Texas grain sorghum crop, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. The threat comes at a time when a lingering drought and market pressures suggest growers will plant a larger than normal crop this year. “For now, we’re calling this pest the sugarcane aphid,” said Dr. Raul Villanueva, an entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco. “It was first seen last… Read More →

Department, Extension Welcomes Brad Easterling to IPM Program

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service welcomes Brad Easterling to the Statewide Integrated Pest Management program. Easterling joined the Garden City Extension Agent-IPM position on January 2, replacing the vacant position that was previously held by Warren Multer, who retired on March 31, 2013. He will be serving the Glasscock/Reagan/Upton County area, which encompasses Garden City. Easterling received a Master of Science degree in Agriculture Science from Texas A&M University – Kingsville in 2007 and a Bachelor of Science in… Read More →

Extension Entomologists Launch Website for West Nile Information

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – The summer months usually bring barbecues and swimming pools, and the start of mosquito season. To help keep residents safe and informed, entomologists at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recently launched a special website portal called texaswestnile.tamu.edu for information on West Nile Virus, mosquitoes and mosquito prevention. The idea to start the site came about after receiving many calls on requests for information during the 2012 mosquito season due to the record number of cases of West Nile . Assistant Professor and Extension Entomologist… Read More →

South Texas rains incite insects, delay summer harvest

Residents warned to be on the lookout for mosquitoes and flying ants, termites Writer: Rod Santa Ana, 956-878-8317, r-santaana@tamu.edu Contacts: Dr. Raul Villanueva, 956-968-5581, rtvillanueva@ag.tamu.edu Dr. Juan Anciso, 956-968-5581, janciso@tamu.edu WESLACO  –  Rains that fell April 28 have temporarily slowed the harvest of citrus and vegetable crops in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and will likely increase the activity of mosquitoes and termites, according to experts at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco. “We got anywhere from an inch to as much as 6… Read More →

Sekula hired as South Texas row crops entomologist

Writer: Rod Santa Ana, 956-878-8317, r-santaana@tamu.edu Contact: Danielle Sekula, 956-968-5581, danielle.sekula@ag.tamu.edu WESLACO  –  Danielle Sekula has been named integrated pest management entomologist for cotton, grain sorghum and corn at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco, according to an official there. Sekula replaces several well-known entomologists who have filled the position in years past, including John Norman, LeeRoy Rock and Amanda Anderson (nee Cattaeno), according to Dr. Ruben Saldana, the South District Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service administrator. Sekula, a native of Edinburg, said assuming… Read More →

Texans being urged to be on the lookout for a new bug in town

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu Contacts: Bill Ree, 979-845-6479, w-ree@tamu.edu Wizzie Brown, 512-854-9600, ebrown@ag.tamu.edu Dr. Charles Allen, 325-653-4576, ctallen@ag.tamu.edu COLLEGE STATION – With the holiday season gearing up, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists are urging travelers to be wary of a new species of unwelcome six-legged hitchhikers itching to become full-time Texans. Brown marmorated stink bug; adult and nymph stages. (Courtesy photo) “We’re working to raise awareness about the brown marmorated stink bug in Texas,” said Bill Ree, AgriLife Extension entomologist at College Station. “This pest is… Read More →

Cooler temperatures often move critters inside

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu Elizabeth “Wizzie” Brown, 512-854-9600,  ebrown@ag.tamu.edu AUSTIN – Hungry hoards of mosquitoes, katydids, crickets, grasshoppers and other assorted pests-Texans have pretty much seen them all this summer, but will the onslaught stop once cooler weather hits? “The bugs of summer will subside, but a new slate is ready and willing to move right in with you,” said “Wizzie” Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist at Austin. “Usually during drought conditions or when the weather begins to get cooler insects and… Read More →

AgriLife Extension revamps much-used livestock pest control publication

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu Contact: Dr. Sonja Swiger, 254-968-4144, slswiger@ag.tamu.edu STEPHENVILLE – One of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s old standby  livestock pest control reference publications has been updated, revamped and split in two.The first installment is now available to the public, said the effort’s coordinator. New electronic livestock pest publication replaces old standby. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo) Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist at Stephenville, said the original publication formerly known as Managing External Parasites of Texas Livestock and Poultry B-1306, is now… Read More →

Fast Facts About Mosquito Prevention and Control For Schools

Here are a few facts that you can use and share with those in your district about mosquitoes, mosquito control, and West Nile virus. The most important single thing a school district can do is make sure school grounds are not contributing to your local mosquito populations.  Check water catchment basins, storm drains, low areas, and equipment storage yards, athletic and playground equipment, especially, for places where water might be caught and held.  Drain or treat with Bt dunks, or Altosid granules–both Green category insecticides. Mosquitoes typically rest… Read More →

AgriLife expert offers tips for battling mosquitoes in your own backyard

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu Contact: Dr. Mike Merchant, 972-952-9204, m-merchant@tamu.edu DALLAS – Rains have not been abundant this summer in North Texas, but an early jumpstart from the mild winter has given mosquitoes all they need for a mid-summer resurgence, said a Texas AgriLife Extension Service entomologist. “Mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease are a major problem in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex this summer,” said Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist at Dallas. “This is one of the worst years we’ve seen in north Texas for the mosquito-borne disease called… Read More →