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

AgriLife Extension community fire ant control program a template for success

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife

For more than a decade, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management program specialist Wizzie Brown has been engaged in a community-wide battle against one of the state’s most persistent pests – the fire ant.

Since 2005, Brown and residents of the Wood Glen community in Round Rock, north of Austin, have collaborated in a neighborhood fire ant program to control the proliferation of fire ants, eliminate their unsightly mounds and keep them from biting area residents. Continue reading

Texas School IPM team wins Texas A&M award

Paul Durre and A.J. Clinton – leaders of the Texas IPM Affiliate for Public Schools (TIPMAPS) organization – joined the Texas A&M AgriLife Team which included Wizzie Brown, Molly Keck, Janet Hurley, Blake Bennett, Mike Merchant, Paul Nester, and Don Renchie on the podium to receive Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s highest award–the Superior Service Award–from Director Doug Steele.

Since 2001 the team has provided training or direct assistance to more than 600 school districts, reaching nearly 1,000 school employees. They created a database of more than 1,500 School IPM Coordinators, pest management professionals and key stakeholders to facilitate communications, and created the IPM Calculator tool for pest management in school facilities. Their website, schoolipm.tamu.edu, receives more than 13,000 unique visitors annually, their newsletter reaches 1,560 subscribers monthly and the team has received grants totaling more than $1.3 million in competitive grants to fund its programs.

Texas A&M has online insect identification resources

Texas A&M AgriLife has several online insect identification resources for your use.

For aphids, http://aphid.aphidnet.org/, can be used to identify the 66 most polyphagous and cosmopolitan aphid species in the world.

For grasshoppers, http://itp.lucidcentral.org/id/grasshopper/adult/Media/frmsetRLGH.htm is a great tool to help identify species.

Dr. Salvadore Vitanza reports http://idtools.org/ is a wonderful resource with a wealth of information, fact sheets, photographs, and Lucent technology identification keys. He reports that these tools make identification quick and easy and was especially impressed by the “Find Best” magic wand icon. Dr. Gary Miller explains how to use the idtools.org system on this YouTube video: http://youtu.be/eLTqmsTIMag.

Wizzie Brown also shared information about a great website for teaching Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists about insect identification (Class and Order level). http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/library/compendium/index.html

Browning of cedar trees in Central Texas likely due to budworm

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 another outbreak this year.”

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Fire Ant webinar June 6

Free eXtension.org Fire Ant Webinar Next Friday, June 6, 2014

All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar on Fire Ant Management, set for 2 pm EDT.

The webinar will be presented by Wizzie Brown, an IPM specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and
moderated by Mike McQueen.  You will find links below that you can include in Facebook and Twitter posts. If you haven’t promoted this month’s webinar on social media, please do so!

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