Category Archives: Extension News

Texas honey production tops 7.4 million pounds

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications Texas remained sixth in the nation for honey production in 2019, and is home to thousands of overwintering hives that contribute to the nation’s agricultural economy each growing season, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Bexar County, said Texas beekeeping falls into three categories – hobbyists, sideliners and commercial. Hobbyists are backyard beekeepers who keep bees, typically less than 10 hives, to meet Texas’ agriculture exemption for… Read More →

How Texas became leader in safe public school pest management

Human, environmental health remain focus as AgriLife Extension makes school pest control safer by Gabe Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing & Communications Anyone returning to a Texas public school this semester is safer from pests and pesticides, thanks to a host of integrated pest control practices required by the state and taught to licensed professionals by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Requirements for integrated pest management, or IPM, in Texas schools were passed by the Texas Legislature in 1991. IPM is the practice of controlling pests with… Read More →

Mike Merchant Awarded with Honorary Membership at the Entomological Society of America

Congratulations to former Professor and Extension Specialist Dr. Mike Merchant as he was named an honorary member of the Entomological Society of America in 2020. Merchant recently retired from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and was one of five entomologists in the nation that were named honorary members. The award acknowledges members who have served the ESA for at least 20 years outstanding work throughout their careers to advance the organization at an extraordinary level. For 31 years, Merchant has been serving the state as Professor and Extension… Read More →

Professor Retires After 30+ Years with Extension

The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service celebrated the retirement of a longtime professor and Extension Entomologist during a virtual celebration held on August 7. Merchant, a Professor and Extension Entomologist in Dallas, will be retiring on August 31. He has been with Extension for more than 30 years when he joined as an Urban Entomologist in the District 4 offices located in the Dallas area. His career highlights started in 1993 when Merchant was named Chair of the statewide School IPM Advisory Committee. As… Read More →

How to get rid of fruit flies in your house

Fight the pests by removing their home inside your home by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications Fruit flies can be a pesky pest, especially indoors. While they can be annoying, Mike Merchant, Ph.D., Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service urban entomologist, Dallas, said infestations of fruit flies and other flying pests are relatively easy to control. “Fruit flies are almost impossible to keep out of homes,” Merchant said. “They can fly in doors when we come and go, hitch rides home on ripe fruit, and are… Read More →

It’s big, but it’s not a ‘murder hornet’

Texas A&M AgriLife experts say Texans mistakenly identifying cicada killer wasps as Asian giant hornets by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications Since the release of information about Asian giant hornets, Texas A&M AgriLife entomologists are being inundated with cicada killers and other lookalike insects submitted for identification as a possible “murder hornet,” which thus far has only been found in Washington state in the U.S. While the agency wants to continue to encourage Texans to be vigilant in watching for the Asian giant hornet, they… Read More →

AgriLife Extension experts: Time to say ‘no’ to mosquitoes

by Susan Himes, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications Did you know there are 85 species of mosquitoes in Texas that have been identified by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service’s agricultural and environmental safety unit personnel?  That’s a lot of itch-inducing painful pests to worry about. Besides being a buzzing and biting nuisance, mosquitoes carry a host of diseases and viruses that can be dangerous to people, pets and livestock.  “It’s a mosquito’s world,” said Sonja Swiger, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension veterinary entomologist in Stephenville. “Whether you see them or not,… Read More →

Cattle fever tick numbers on the rise

AgriLife experts warn of ticks’ potential negative economic impact by Susan Himes, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications Texas A&M AgriLife Research and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are working to help thwart the spread of cattle fever. An announcement from the Texas Animal Health Commission, TAHC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program, USDA-CFTEP, that cattle fever tick infestations have spread outside the permanent quarantine zone prompted concern from AgriLife experts, who last dealt with a large outbreak in 2017. “The discovery… Read More →

Stinging Caterpillar Season Starts

AgriLife experts warn stinging caterpillars can cause contact rashes, painful reactions by Susan Himes, Texas A&M AgriLife Marketing and Communications As the weather warms up and people begin spending more time in their yards, parks and forests, more people will be coming home with a rash or bug bite. However, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts say before you blame a flying insect or a poisonous plant for a skin ailment, you may need to consider another culprit – stinging caterpillars. “Spring foliage has brought on an abundance… Read More →

Corn Rootworm Control Project Showing Success in New York and Texas Corn Fields

   Extension Entomologist Dr. Pat porter notes that persistent entomopathogenic nematodes have remained effective for many years in New York after just one application, and our data from Texas suggest that will be the case here. While initially deployed for corn rootworm control, this technology shows promise for some of our other serious soil-dwelling pests like grubs in wheat and wireworms in several crops. Our research on these pests is in the planning stages. Also, the whitefringed beetle is a major pest of alfalfa in New Mexico… Read More →