Yucca plant bugs

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Do you have yucca planted in your landscape?  Have you checked it lately for pest problems?  I know that it seems early to start checking for pests but I walked past the yucca at the office this week and it is covered with yucca plant bugs already. Yucca plant bugs are in the order Hemiptera and are related to other sucking pests such as stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs, but are much smaller.  Adult yucca plant bugs have a bright reddish-orange head and thorax with dark bluish-black wings…. Read More →

FREE Webinar series- 2017 All Bugs Good & Bad

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The 2017 webinar series All Bugs Good and Bad starts today (Friday, February 3, 2017). Please join us for this webinar series for information you can use about good and bad insects.  We used your feedback to bring topics that you suggested for 2017.   We will discuss troublesome insects such as invasive ants, landscape pests, vegetable pests, and house dwellers as well as arachnids too.  Not all insects are bad, though, come and meet some of our native pollinators!  The series kicks off today with “Don’t let tramp… Read More →

Why entomology? Why study bugs?

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I often get the questions of today’s topic posed to me when I meet people.  Why did you go into entomology?  How did you decide to work with bugs? It all started when I was a kid.  I loved insects.  I have various memories throughout my childhood that pointed to my future career as an entomologist, but I didn’t know at the time that I could work with insects and get paid for it. In 5th grade, we were assigned to research and write a report on the… Read More →

It’s freezing outside. Why are all the insects not dead?

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So as I sit in my cozy office (with my sweater, scarf, fingerless gloves, and heater) I consider the poor insects that are having to deal with the drastic flip-flopping of the weather the past few weeks.  We’ve seen temperatures in the 20’s and temperatures in the 80’s, so I’m sure that they are a bit confused.  I was asked last week when it was warm how the mosquitoes came back so quickly if they died when it was freezing.  Well……. Insects have certain adaptations that allow them… Read More →

Invasive ladybugs?!

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There has been a rash of calls, emails, texts, and questions regarding lady beetles that have been seen in high numbers lately in Central Texas.  We all know that ladybugs are good bugs, right?  Well, not this time.  That should make you ponder “What makes a good bug or a bad bug?”. My answer to that would be it depends not only upon the insect in question, but also where it is found and what it is doing.  If you find an termite in your house, is it… Read More →

2016 Holiday Gift Wish List

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It’s that time again for finding the perfect gift for the discerning person on your list (or for a good gag gift for the Grinches).  Here are some possible arthropod-themed items you may need to pick up.     First up is a spider infused computer mouse.  I personally think the whole thing is a bit humorous as I used to have a bird eating tarantula that ate mice and this flips that- a “mouse” with a tarantula inside.  ….maybe it’s just me that sees that angle?  Anyhoo,… Read More →

Lygus bugs

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I’ve been getting email and calls about small “stink bugs” on cruciferous crops lately.  I went out to our demonstration garden to see if I could rustle some up on what we have planted out there and I hit the jackpot.  I found Lygus bugs on the cabbage and some other plants (that I have no idea what they are…I went back out to look- they’re fava beans). Lygus bugs have a wide host range and have been found on over 350 plants.  These bugs commonly begin the… Read More →

Survey needs participants!

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The Southern Regional Extension Forestry program is conducting a survey about people’s awareness of forest and tree health issues. By answering a few questions about these issues, your firewood use habits, and where you’ve recently learned about the issues, program staff hopes to gain insight as to how to effectively engage with the public and how to improve in the future. This survey should only take 10 minutes. The first page asks about your firewood purchasing practices. The second page asks about your knowledge of invasive forest insects. All answers will be… Read More →

Widow spiders

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Information just in time for Halloween where spider webs and spooky spiders are a common sight. There are four species of widow spiders found in Texas, with the best known being the black widow.  Coloration can vary, but they are typically jet black with two reddish-orange triangles on the underside of the abdomen, forming an hourglass shape.  The triangles sometimes do not touch each other creating a broken hourglass shape.  Males and juveniles are smaller and often are more colorful, with bright markings on their sides or back…. Read More →

Fun facts about bugs

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I’m feeling a bit blue today, so I thought I would do something a bit lighter.  Here are 10 fun facts about insects! Insects are on every continent except Antarctica. The fear of cockroaches is called Katsaridaphobia. Mexican jumping beans are seed pods that have been inhabited by the larva of a small moth and are native to Mexico. Adult ladybugs will eat more than 50 aphids per day. Throughout history, species of biting ants have been used as sutures to close wounds. Blow flies find dead bodies using body… Read More →