8 Things to Know about Bed Bugs from Bexar County Entomology

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The holiday season is upon us and increased travels can mean bringing bed bugs home for some. Here are the top 10 things I think you should know about bed bugs! 1.  Bed bugs are not microscopic.  You can see bed bugs with your eyes, they are not imaginary and they are not too small to see.  Bed bugs are about the size, shape and color of an apple seed.  Of course, the little babies are much smaller, but I can still see them with my eyes.  I… Read More →

Rats! New York City Tries to Drain Rodent ‘Reservoirs’

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New York City is launching the latest salvo in its never-ending war on rats.     City officials are ramping up efforts to teach regular New Yorkers how to make their streets, businesses and gardens less hospitable to rodents — in other words, to see their neighborhood the way a health inspector would. When Caroline Bragdon, a rat expert with the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, walks through the East Village, she’s not looking at the people or the storefronts. Her eyes point down, at the… Read More →

Understanding Pesticides: A Property Manager’s Guide to Formulations

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One of the goals of the StopPests in Housing Program is to use integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce the amount of pesticides used in housing. The reality is there will always be situations which call for pesticide use. We know choosing the right product to control a pest depends on many factors including the type of pest, location, cost, the level of infestation, and specific state pesticide or wildlife regulations. Because there is so much to it, we encourage you to leave pesticides in the hands of… Read More →

Carabid beetles spotted en masse in South Central Texas

A proliferation of Carabid beetles — fast-moving predatory insects — has been reported in South Central Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo courtesy of Mike Merchant)

The past few weeks have generated several calls to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service about an explosion in the beetle population in South Central Texas, said the agency’s entomologist for Bexar County. Many residents have been surprised and concerned about the sight of large clusters of small black beetles teeming outside their homes, said Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist. “It’s difficult to say just what has led to this increase,” Keck said. “But there are certain conditions under which insect populations proliferate, and I’m… Read More →

When Seeds Look Like Bugs…

Oxalis seeds.  Photo by Dr. Mike Merchant

Insects are often blamed for many things and more often that you can imagine, strange shaped objects are identified as some “weird bug”.  I could write a book on the strange things that come across my desk that a homeowner is convinced is an insect (I once had a sweet lady send me dried up spagetti, certain her kitchen was infested with worms).  But not every small object is is an insect. Lately, I have had several individuals send me small, oval shaped objects that have been found… Read More →

Browning of cedar trees in Central Texas likely due to budworm

A recent outbreak of juniper budworms has been causing cedar trees in South Central Texas to turn brown. (Photo courtesy of  Steve Darnell, Bee  Cave)

  If you live in South Central Texas and have noticed cedar trees turning brown, it is likely due to a new infestation of juniper budworms, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist. “Many people in this area have noticed their Ashe juniper trees, commonly called cedar, turning brown,” said Wizzie Brown, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management program specialist for Travis County. “This most likely is being caused by juniper budworms. There was an outbreak of these insects in this area in 2002, and we have had… Read More →

Urban Pest News By Wizzie Brown May 2014

Bee swarm on a tree, they can also be found on playground equipment, park benches and other structures.

Fleas Fleas are ectoparasites and females require a blood meal to produce eggs. After feeding on a host, females can produce about 30-50 eggs per day. Eggs fall off the animal and into carpeting or other areas of the home or outside in areas where the animal frequents. Larvae feed on organic matter as well as partially digested blood excreted by the adult fleas. After fleas pupate, they usually hatch out of the cocoon in about 2 weeks, but they can remain dormant for up to 5 months… Read More →

Webworms and a garden visitor

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Webworms are caterpillars that defoliate trees and cause large, unsightly webs on the tips of tree branches.  There are 2-4 generations of webworms that occur each year.  The first generation appears now and the last generation occurs in late fall.  The last generation tends to be the most damaging. Webworm larvae, or caterpillars, are about an inch long when fully grown.  They are pale green to yellow with tufts of long hairs projecting from their body.  Most people notice webbing that they create on branches.  Webworms feed with… Read More →

Mosquito Training Workshops Hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

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This Workshop is designed to train Personnel in cities and municipalities that are in the field of mosquito abatement or are working on setting up a mosquito control program. The workshop will educate personnel on mosquito biology, ecology, control tactics, trap use, surveillance, virus testing and mosquito control.  In addition, there will be an overview of licensing and permits needed Texas Department of State Health Services will be presenting information on the vector borne diseases, zoonotic virus testing and the West Nile virus outbreak of 2012. All workshops will… Read More →

Will Texans Soon Kiss Their Ash Goodbye?

Emerald Ash Borer Photographer: David Cappaert Source: Michigan State University

Texans, be on the lookout for an invasive beetle to ash trees: The Emerald Ash Borer. The Emerald Ash Borer has recently been found just outside our doorsteps in Colorado in late 2013.  In fact, the Emerald Ash Borer may very well already be in Texas, as most experts believe there may be as many as three years time between introduction and detection! Emerald Ash Borers lay their eggs in the crevices of the bark of the Ash and the larvae hatch and burrow into the outer sapwood of the Ash… Read More →