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

Zika is making headlines, but West Nile virus may be more prevalent this year

In Georgia FACES

By Merritt Melancon, University of Georgia

With its shocking impact on babies and mothers, the Zika virus has gotten a lot of attention. However, some entomologists are looking at the current, abnormally dry weather and becoming concerned that another mosquito-borne illness could become a threat later this summer.

Climatically, the stage has been set for West Nile virus to spread later this summer, said Elmer Gray, a public health entomologist with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Continue reading