Urban IPM

Friday, October 5, 2018

Rain and mosquitoes

With all of the rain that we have received lately and more on the way, it's understandable for people to be concerned about mosquitoes.  I'm not going to rehash everything here in this post, but I will direct you to past posts on mosquito topics.

mosquito
I do want to let people know of floodwater mosquitoes which are different from our normal culprits.  I usually get the statement of the "huge mosquito" or a "mosquito that REALLY hurts when it bites" or a "mosquito that tried to carry them away".  These are the floodwater mosquitoes that come out after we have heavy rains.  These mosquitoes lay their eggs in areas that water will reach during flooding conditions (or heavy rainfall).  Fortunately, they can also be repelled with mosquito repellent.  The EPA has a site that can help you choose a mosquito repellent here.

As for other mosquito information, remember the following:
  1. Stay indoors during peak mosquito hours*- dawn & dusk
    1. *please note that some Aedes mosquitoes are day time feeders while some Culex are night time feeders in addition to being active at dusk and dawn, so precaution should be taken whenever outside
  2. Eliminate standing water
    1. Dispose of old tires or cover them with a tarp to keep off rain
    2. Clean out gutters and downspouts
    3. Bird baths, pet water dishes, etc. should be emptied and refilled twice a week
    4. Store containers so they do not hold water
  3. Keep grass mowed to a proper length & vegetation trimmed (mosquitoes like to rest in thick vegetation)
  4. Repair leaky faucets or A/C lines that produce condensate
  5. In permanent standing water areas, use things like mosquito fish or Bt israelensis (dunks)
  6. Keep window screens in good repair
  7. Use repellents when going outside (follow label instructions).
For mosquito & mosquito disease information see this page for more information:
http://urban-ipm.blogspot.com/2016/07/mosquito-and-mosquito-disease.html

For information about heartworms (transmitted to pets by mosquitoes) see this page:
http://urban-ipm.blogspot.com/2017/08/heartworms.html

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall Armyworms

armywormI have been getting questions on armyworms and consulting with other entomologists, they have been as well.  So, instead of me recreating the wheel, I am going to link you to a publication written by Dr. Allen Knutson.

Also, if you want to learn how to prepare your home to keep unwanted guest- in this case insects, not relatives- from entering your house, check out this month's All Bugs Good and Bad webinar provided by Janet Hurley.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Texas cave scorpion

Most people in Central Texas are well aware of striped bark scorpions as they can be found in the landscape and sometimes will venture indoors.  We have another scorpion that can be found in the area, the Texas cave scorpion.
Texas cave scorpion with babies
Scorpions are arachnids with eight legs and two body regions.   Scorpions have two pincers or claws, called pedipalps, which help them hold their prey as they eat.  They also have a long tail with a stinger on the tip that can be used for defense or to paralyze their prey.  Cave scorpions are dark in color and have thicker pedipalps than the striped bark scorpions.

Texas cave scorpions do not live in the same locations as striped bark scorpions.  They live in....you guessed it!....CAVES!  They can also be found in grottos or other limestone features, so these will be in rockier areas of Central Texas.

Texas cave scorpion with babies UV glowSo why am I rattling on about cave scorpions?  My cave scorpion had babies yesterday!!  They are so incredibly cute!  I was unaware that my scorpion was even pregnant.  Scorpions are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young.  The gestation period can last for 2-18 months. Considering that I did not have a male, this female had to be pregnant when I got her.  Female scorpions exhibit maternal care and will carry the babies around on their bodies until the undergo the first molt.

I have included an image that I took of the momma and babies under a black light so you can see that the babies don't fluoresce or glow like the adults will.