Category Archives: Pests

Fall Armyworm Invasion In Texas

Fall armyworms are an annual occurrence across much of the state. Like many other insect invaders fall armyworm populations are rather light in some years and heavy in others. This year’s invasion across much of the state has been quite heavy, but here in Harris County the reports haven’t been as high as in they have farther to the north and west. These late season pests can occur in numbers numbers high enough to strip a grassy lawn or pasture bare. They love bermudagrass but also will feed… Read More →

Tropical Sod Webworms 2017

Sod webworms are an annual occurrence here in the greater Houston area but some years the outbreaks are much worse than others. This year may be another bad year or on the other hand, just one with a very minor and scattered outbreaks. Residents have been calling and emailing the Extension Office with concerns about seeing small moths around their home and landscape again. There are many small tan/brown moths in nature and so you may be seeing something other than sod webworms. You can find a photo… Read More →

Diagnosing Lawn Problems

There are many things that can cause a lawn to decline and die. Drought, soil compaction, excessive shade, chemical injury, pests and diseases are among the many possible contributing factors. If you are watering and fertilizing properly, and if the turf is receiving adequate sunlight, the problem may be due to pests or diseases. The AgriLife Extension Office in Harris County can assist you with diagnosing your lawn problems. In order to properly diagnose your lawn problem we need to see a sample. Here is how to take… Read More →

Tropical Sod Webworms

This year we have received many calls concerning tropical sod webworms, a common late summer to fall pest of turfgrass here in the Houston area. Callers say that numerous moths are flying out of the turfgrass when they walk across their lawns. There are numerous species of small moths in the landscape so this characteristic alone is not an identifying factor for diagnosing a sod webworm infestation. There are several species of sod webworms in Texas but it is the tropical sod webworm that is the most damaging… Read More →

Want To Control Crabgrass? Time To Apply A Preemergent!

Our mild winter is resulting in an early spring; plants are in flower, garden centers are stocking their shelves and weed seeds are starting to germinate. Large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis ) is a summer annual grassy weed. Summer annuals germinate in the spring, grow through the summer and die with the first hard frost. These plants produce a tremendous amount of seed in the mid- to late summer. These seeds ensure next year’s crop of weeds but can also remain dormant in the soil for several years before… Read More →

Citrus Rust Mites

We have seen quite a few citrus fruit samples at the Extension Office in which the fruit is brown on the outer rind, primarily on one side but sometimes all over. This damage is caused by citrus rust mites. These small arthropods chew on the surface of the rind causing the scarring/browning. Although you may notice the browning now, when you are harvesting the fruit, the damage probably dates back to summer and early fall when the mites were more active. The mites avoid the sunny side of… Read More →

Landscape Pest & Disease Workshop

If you work in the green industry and deal with pests and diseases in the landscape, or work at a garden center and answer questions from customers on plant diseases and pests; then don’t miss out on the Landscape Pest & Disease Workshop on January 29, 2016. We have an excellent group of presenters that will cover the following  program topics. Pollinator Protection Pesticide Laws & Regulations Landscape Disease Management Landscape Ornamental Pests (Common Culprits & New Invasives) Turfgrass Disease Diagnosis & Management Continuing Education Credits available  TDA Pesticide… Read More →

Beneficial Insects: Green Lacewings

The green lacewing (Chrysoperla sp.) is a common beneficial insect found in the landscape. They are a generalist predator best known for feeding on aphids, but will also control mites and other soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, leafhoppers, mealybugs and whiteflies. The adult green lacewing has a long slender green body and golden eyes. It has prominent wings with lace-like veins. An adult will be approximately 0.75” in length. They are typically night flying insects.  Females can lay up to 200 tiny, oblong eggs on silken stalks attached… Read More →

Plant Health Workshop

The Plant Health Workshop is an annual cooperative program between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance that focuses on managing plant pests with less pesticides. This year’s event features speakers on Transitioning to Sustainable Landscape Practices, Laws and Regulations Update, Pollinator Protection, New Landscape Pests, and Rose Rosette. AgriLife Horticulture agents will also conduct a tour of the ongoing research and demonstration plantings at the Harris County Extension Office. Click here to register!

Citrus Leaf Miner

We receive many calls and plant samples each year from home citrus trees infested with the citrus leaf miner (Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton). This insect is a tiny moth that lays an egg under the leaf from which a larvae hatches that burrows into the leaf. The larvae then tunnels around in a serpentine pattern between the leaf surfaces (hence its name “leaf miner”) leaving a whitish, silvery winding pathway through the leaf. Damage from this pest causes citrus foliage to cup and twist, creating a malformed leaf. After… Read More →