Category Archives: Extension News

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 →

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 →