Website offers critical mosquito, disease information post hurricane

by Gabriel Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Visitors to the Mosquito Safari website at http://mosquitosafari.tamu.edu will find comprehensive information on common mosquitoes, the diseases they carry and instructions for controlling the pest, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists.

They said the information is critical in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, whose initial rains forced mosquitoes from their habitats into human areas, and whose residual standing waters have created new environments for mosquito breeding. Continue reading

Harvey brings Texas sized mosquito event

In Insects in the City blog

by Mike Merchant

Remember last week when I warned that mosquitoes would be hurricane Harvey’s final gift?  Well, mosquitoes are here as seen in this Facebook image, taken in Port Lavaca, TX this weekend.

The giant mosquitoes in this picture are probably in the genus Psorophora, (sore ROFF oh ruh) one of our largest, most painful and aggressive biters.  Psorophora mosquitoes have some impressive chops when it comes to survival.  One of the so-called floodwater mosquito species, they lay their eggs on land rather than water like most mosquitoes.  But not just on any land–eggs are laid at the edges of receding floodwaters, where they will re-hydrate and hatch during the next large rain event. Continue reading

Texas flooded with mosquitoes now that Harvey is over

by Steve Byrnes, Texas A&M AgriLife

Among the inevitable fallout stemming from the ocean of water dumped on South Texas by Hurricane Harvey will be a hoard of bloodsucking mosquitoes, but  state-level entomologists predict the first onslaught won’t be the disease vectors many fear.

“For the past several years we’ve been educating people about disease-transmitting mosquitoes, but we are about to witness a huge emergence of other kinds of mosquitoes,” said Dr. Charles Allen, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist and Texas A&M University department of entomology associate department head at San Angelo. “Due to the big rain event associated with Hurricane Harvey, in a few short days and over the next few weeks we’ll be expecting a large outbreak of what are called floodwater mosquitoes.” Continue reading

Floating fire ants, insect pests among flood hazards

by Gabriel Saldana, Texas A&M AgriLife

Fire ants, as their colonies begin to flood, can join feet or tarsi to form water rafts, and they are more aggressive once in the floating formation, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologists. But other insect pests can also pose human threats in flood conditions, they said.

Dr. Paul Nester, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Houston, and Dr. Mike Merchant, AgriLife Extension urban entomologist, Dallas, encourage those affected by flooding to stay prepared and aware of pests, especially when it comes to mosquitoes, floating fire ant colonies and bedbugs. Continue reading

Insect threats after a flood

In Insects in the City

Many in our pest control industry find themselves in the midst of the devastating floods hitting much of south and east Texas this week.  If so, it may be a good time to remind ourselves of some unique pest challenges associated with high water.

Flooding brings all sorts of wildlife into unusually close contact with people, but few critters are more dangerous than fire ants. When floods occur, fire ants exit the ground and float, instinctively linking their legs and forming a floating mat which is nearly impossible to sink. When they inevitably bump into a dry object like a tree, a boat or a person, the ant mass “explodes” with ants quickly exiting the mass and swarming the object. Continue reading