Category Archives: Hot Topics

Kerns Named Statewide Integrated Pest Management Coordinator

COLLEGE STATION–The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome Dr. David Kerns to the faculty as Professor and Statewide Integrated Pest Management Coordinator. Kerns started December 1 and is based in College station. Before joining A&M, he was the Jack Hamilton Regents Chair in Cotton Production in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University since April 2011 located at Winnsboro at the Macon Ridge Research Center. At LSU, Kerns was responsible for conducting entomological research at Macon Ridge and St. Joseph… Read More →

Walnut caterpillars hit West Central Texas pecan trees

Damage looks worse than it is by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANGELO – Is your nut-laden pecan tree suddenly developing  a “bald spot?” The culprit is probably the walnut caterpillar, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist. Dr. Charles Allen of San Angelo said he and his colleagues from Central and South Texas have been getting a number of reports over the past few weeks of pecan trees suddenly being denuded. “Walnut caterpillars are often mistaken for webworms, but they don’t make a web,… Read More →

Educating the public about Zika is now AgriLife Extension’s ‘priority-one’

COLLEGE STATION – Educating the public to protect themselves from Zika has become “priority one” for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, a state leader said. AgriLife Extension is tasked with educating the public on a great number of topics for all ages, but in a bold unprecedented move, the agency has harnessed its statewide presence to prepare the public against this ever-increasing threat, said Dr. Susan Ballabina, executive associate director, College Station. “As I expect most Texans are aware, the Zika virus — spread mainly by the A. aegypti and A…. Read More →

AgriLife Extension entomologist: “There’s a new bug in town”

By: Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications DALLAS – Dr. Mike Merchant, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service urban entomologist based in Dallas, said “there’s a new bug in town” — and it could cause serious harm to some of the state’s most extensively used landscaping trees. “Ash trees are used extensively around the state in landscaping for homes, businesses, in parks and along highways and streets,” Merchant said. “And the emerald ash borer, an insect that can potentially cause great harm to ash trees, is typically found in… Read More →

New AgriLife Extension fact sheet gives buzz on indoor flies

By: Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications DALLAS – It’s getting close to fly season again and a new Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service publication will help people identify different types of indoor flies, understand their biology and, most importantly, learn how to eliminate them. “Next to ants, flies may be the most common household pest problem,” said Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension entomologist in Dallas. Merchant is the author of the new six-page fact sheet “Indoor Flies and Their Control,” which provides pictures, descriptions and behavioral details… Read More →

AgriLife Extension expert: Conditions right for black flies

By Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications STEPHENVILLE – Reports of black flies are increasing as recent rains created favorable conditions for the swarming, biting pest, according to Dr. Sonja Swiger, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, Stephenville. Black flies aren’t like run-of-the-mill house flies or other biting flies, such as horn or stable flies, Swiger said. They’re tiny, powerful blood-feeders who aren’t picky about their host. They attack humans as readily as domesticated animals and wildlife, and feed at various times throughout the day. “They’re nasty biters,”… Read More →

AgriLife Extension experts inform Texans on protecting from Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases

By: Paul Schattenberg and Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANTONIO – Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists are informing Texans on how to protect themselves from the mosquito vectors that spread Zika and other diseases. “The ongoing outbreak of the Zika virus has spread throughout most of South America, Central America and the Caribbean,” said Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Stephenville. “The effects this virus will have on the United States are not entirely known, but experts are concerned about the possibilities.” According to health officials,… Read More →

Fire ants reappear after recent rains

By: Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications AgriLife Extension expert: Treatment depends on mound location, situation SAN ANTONIO – The recent rains have brought fire ants closer to the surface, both literally and as a matter of concern for area property owners, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert based in San Antonio. “Rain doesn’t necessarily make fire ants more abundant,” said Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist and integrated pest management program specialist for Bexar County. “They were always there; they just weren’t as noticeable. When it… Read More →

AgriLife Extension experts: Texans should expect mosquito population explosion

By: Paul Schattenberg and Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications DALLAS – Anticipating a significant increase in the state’s mosquito population, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists are offering tips on how Texans can help slow mosquito breeding in backyards and protect from being bitten. “Mosquito populations are booming throughout the state and will likely not go away anytime soon after all our rains and flooding,” said Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist in Dallas. “Not all of the mosquitoes swarming us right now are likely to… Read More →

Expert: ‘Exclusion’ best way to prepare for Central Texas’ spring bug boom

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications AUSTIN – With the weather warming and spring just around the corner, Central Texas residents can soon expect a pest proliferation and “exclusion” is the best way to prepare for it, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert. “We’ve had a relatively bug-free winter and it’s been a nice respite, but with the recent rains and more consistent warm temperatures, we can soon expect to see lots of insect pests that have been overwintering reemerge in force,” said Wizzie Brown,… Read More →