Entomologists to holiday travelers: Don’t let the bedbugs bite

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists say a few simple practices can help holiday travelers deal with bedbug infestations and avoid spreading the pest.

“All it takes is one traveler with bedbugs in their luggage to stay at a hotel and that hotel can become infested,” said Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist in Dallas. “Unless the problem is noticed and dealt with right away, the next hotel visitor may end up bitten or bringing home some unwanted hitchhikers.” Continue reading

Baskin Elementary in San Antonio receives $1,000 grant for pollinator program

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

Baskin Elementary School in San Antonio recently received a $1,000 grant to establish a pollinator garden on the school campus.

The money, provided from a Feed-A-Bee program grant by the Bayer CropScience Division, was part of a larger grant given to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to fund pollinator initiatives and activities throughout Bexar County. Continue reading

Labels, labels, everywhere! What do they all mean?

Organic. Natural. Hormone-free. Gluten free. Today’s consumers are assaulted with a variety of labels that companies are using to promote their products. However, a study by extension specialists at Texas A&M AgriLife shows that most consumers don’t have a clue what some of those labels mean, and some may make ill-informed choices based on the labels. They have created a new program called Path to the Plate to help debunk some myths and demystify labels for the curious shopper.

Most people who read labels do so to make the best choices for their own health or the health of their families. Many consumer lobby groups have taken their charge to the Internet or to social media to laud or vilify certain types of production practices. “Organic,” for instance, is praised, while “GMO” is criticized. As a result, many consumers concerned about their health look for organic, non-GMO products. Continue reading

Fall Pest Management Seminar in Dallas

From Insects in the City

Registration is now open for the Fall Pest Management Seminar, sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. This is one of the most convenient and cost-effective ways to get your pesticide applicator CEUs in the Dallas area.  To register, go to our AgriLife Conference Registration site.  Early registration is still only $70, and includes lunch.

One big change this year is our location. This meeting, and all training meetings in the foreseeable future will be held at a new address, the Richardson Civic Center. It’s a very nice facility and no more hard yellow chairs!  We hope you’ll join us and check it out. Continue reading

AgriLife Research project to examine, educate on organic wheat systems

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Organic wheat and beef may not be for everyone, but one Texas A&M AgriLife team is going to make sure producers in Texas know more about the possibilities than they currently do.

Dr. Curtis Adams, Texas A&M AgriLife Research crop physiologist at Vernon, will lead a new project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the Organic Transition Program. Continue reading

Research finds that intercropping improves weed and insect control

In Southwest Farm Press

Sometimes looking to the past for answers pays off.

Lower input costs and better crop protection seem to be the benefits of returning to an almost forgotten cropping practice employed by the Americas in ancient times, at least according to the results of a Texas A&M research project involving vegetable and non-vegetable plants grown in an age-old farming system involving the art and science of “intercropping,” or companion crop production. Continue reading

Improper mosquito control on livestock can do more harm than good, expert warns

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

In an effort to save their livestock from the torment caused by the plague of mosquitoes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, some producers are making the mistake of misusing chemicals to control the pests, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

“The results can be potentially disastrous,” said Dr. Sonja Swiger, AgriLife Extension livestock entomologist at Stephenville. “Misuse of potent chemicals can quickly become an example of ‘the cure is worse than the malady,’ not only for the animals being treated but also to the environment. Continue reading