Category Archives: Extension News

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 →

New research helps hay producers manage Bermuda grass stem maggot

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications OVERTON – A relatively new pest – the Bermuda grass stem maggot – is plaguing Texas hay producers this season, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. However, new research from Texas A&M AgriLife is helping growers better manage this pest. “Previously, there was no information on how damaging this insect was to hay production and thus no guidelines on when an insecticide was needed to protect yields,” said Dr. Allen Knutson, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Dallas. “Our field research documented… Read More →

Holly Davis Named Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in Weslaco

The Department of Entomology and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service want to welcome Holly Davis as the new Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist for the Weslaco area. Davis will begin her position in Weslaco on September 1. Before being hired by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Davis was a Research/Extension Associate at Kansas State University from 2015 to 2019. At Manhattan, she worked closely with Extension agents and specialists on providing viable recommendations to growers on pest control measures to lessen the impact of pests. Davis also was co-owner… Read More →

Bynum leaves agriculture pest management behind; retires after more than 40 years

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications AMARILLO — With more than 40 years of service to Texas A&M AgriLife under his hat, Dr. Edsel “Ed” Bynum Jr. will no longer be traipsing out to fields across the High Plains and South Plains looking for the latest insects pestering agricultural crops. Bynum, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomology specialist in Amarillo, is retiring June 30. A retirement party will be hosted from 5-7 p.m. on June 20 at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo… Read More →

Students swarm to Insect Expo at McKenna Children’s Museum

Video by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications Story by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications NEW BRAUNFELS — Nearly 1,000 fourth-grade students from New Braunfels and Comal independent school districts recently attended the second annual two-day Insect Expo at the McKenna Children’s Museum in New Braunfels. “This event was presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in collaboration with these school districts and volunteer organizations,” said Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Travis County. “We had more than 20 stations with fun and educational activities for the kids to… Read More →