Category Archives: Extension News

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 →

John Thobe Named IPM Agent for Bailey, Castro, Parmer Counties

Excerpted from an AgriLife Today story by Susan Himes The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service welcomes Dr. John Thobe as the new integrated pest management agent for Bailey, Castro and Parmer counties. Thobe earned his bachelor’s degree in plant soil and environmental sciences from West Texas A&M University, Canyon. “We are excited to welcome John to AgriLife Extension,” said Clawson. “Between his education and past professional experience, he will be a great addition to the integrated pest management team.” Thobe most recently worked as… Read More →

A Prickly Situation

Cactus moth now in Texas, eating prickly pear cactus, a vital weed needed by livestock during drought   by Dr. Mike Merchant, Professor and Extension Entomologist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Prickly pear cactus has its detractors.  Long hated for its clusters of barbed spines, or glochids, that are difficult to remove, it has been cursed, hacked, burned and sprayed. But prickly pear 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… Read More →

Kaufman named head of Department of Entomology, effective July 1

Phillip Kaufman, Ph.D., will begin his appointment as head of the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, starting July 1. Kaufman joins Texas A&M from the University of Florida where he served as a professor in the Entomology and Nematology Department in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. During his 15 years at the university, he helped develop and implement research programs to support Florida livestock producers, taught courses on medical and veterinary entomology and forensic entomology, as well as provided support to Florida Extension faculty… Read More →

Research looks to beneficial insects for pest control

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications Predator insects could reduce pesticide use in commercial production A Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist is studying how a combination of beneficial insects can help control the pests in greenhouses. Erfan Vafaie, AgriLife Extension program specialist in Integrated Pest Management, Overton, just wrapped up the second year of a three-year study looking at the use of predatory beneficial insects – mites and wasps – to control sweet potato whiteflies in commercial settings. Vafaie’s study is for his doctorate dissertation under… Read More →

Dagan Teague joins AgriLife Extension as integrated pest management agent

Excerpted from an AgriLife Today story by Susan Himes The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service would like to welcome Dagan Teague as the newest integrated pest management in Floydada. Teague started on January 2 and will serve Crosby and Floyd counties in District 2. Michael Clawson, AgriLife Extension district administrator, Lubbock, will be her supervisor. “As the new IPM agent for Crosby and Floyd counties, Dagan will be a welcome addition to District 2,” Clawson said. “As an undergraduate at Texas A&M, Dagan worked… Read More →

West Nile case numbers lowest since 2012

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications DALLAS COUNTY – Cases of West Nile virus in Texas have been the lowest in years, and researchers may know why, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.  Dr. Mike Merchant,  AgriLife Extension entomologist, Dallas, said a publication by health officials in Dallas County may shed light on factors that contribute to outbreaks and help forecast outbreaks in the future. There has been one case of West Nile in humans this year in Fort Worth, but Merchant said vector indexes… Read More →

Ree Set to Retire After 30 Years with Extension

The Department of Entomology recently celebrated Extension specialist Bill Ree as he announced his retirement on August 31 with a special reception on August 13. Ree began his career in Extension in 1988 as an Extension Agent-IPM with a specialization in pecans. As an Extension Agent-IPM, Ree worked with pecan growers on protecting pecans from pests such as the pecan weevil.  In 2007, he was promoted to Extension Specialist III – IPM where he was also responsible for working with pecan growers on pest issues. Ree has been… Read More →