Urban IPM

Friday, September 22, 2017

FREE Webinar series- All Bugs Good & Bad

Have you been watching the FREE webinar series All Bugs Good & Bad?  It happens the first Friday of each month at 1PM Central time.  If you are just now joining in, don't fret because past webinars are available online.

Argentine antsThe next webinar is all about invasive ants.  I know here in Texas we have a fair amount of invasive ants, so this one would be a good one to watch.  Here
's the skinny:

WHEN: Friday, October 6, 2017
WHERE: online click here

New invasive ant species?  Yes, when we think we know about all the ant species, along comes new invasive ants capable of invading our space.  Dr. Timothy Davis, University of Georgia Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chatham County Extension Coordinator will introduce to these new invasive ant species that we should know about, assisted by Vicky Bertagnolli-Heller, Clemson University Extension. 

Moderated by Tim Crow and Eric Schavey, Regional Extension Agents, Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Note: on October 6, the link to the live webinar opens about 15 minutes before the webinar. If you try to log in earlier, you will get an error message.
For more webinars in this series, see 2017 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series. The webinars are brought to you by the following eXtension Communities of Practice: Ant Pests, and Urban IPM; and by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Clemson Cooperative Extension and University of Georgia Extension.

You can find information about past and future presentations in this webinar series online HERE.  If you want to watch one of the past presentations, click on the one you are interested in, look in the right top corner of the page, and click "watch recording".

Friday, September 8, 2017

September 9, 2017- What I'm seeing

Insects that I've been getting the most questions on lately are:

1. MOSQUITOES- why are they so HUGE?!
These are floodwater mosquitoes and I'm going to direct you to some great articles that were recently released to provide with all the details.  Click HERE and HERE

2. Hackberry psyllids are back!
Have you been seeing tiny fly-like insects piling up on your windowsill?  If so, you may have hackberry psyllids.  These are pretty common around here in the late summer into fall.  You can see my previous post on them HERE.

3. Floating masses of fire ants- EEK!
If you are in an area that was affected by recent flooding events or you are going to volunteer/ clean up in an area, then please be aware that fire ants can float on flood waters and have possibly moved into new locations.  Take precaution when moving debris!  You can read more on this HERE

Friday, August 25, 2017


I know that heartworms are not an insect (they are a parasitic roundworm), but they are transmitted by mosquitoes so I feel I am within my bailiwick.  So why write about heartworms now?  Today, on my google calendar I have scheduled that my dogs are to get their heartworm preventative.  This task was added to my calendar way back in 2015 and was set to repeat monthly without end.  I also set up my calendar to send me an email reminder on the day, so I don't forget to give my dogs heartworm preventative. I would encourage you to set a reminder for your pets to get their heartworm preventative each month.

large and small dogHeartworms, Dirofilaria immitis, live in the lungs, hearts, and associated blood vessels of various pets (dogs, cats*, and ferrets).  Other animals, such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes, can also get heartworm disease. D. immitis are spread through the bite of a mosquito (Aedes, Culex, Anopholes, Mansonia).

Adult female heartworms living within a dog release offspring, called microfilariae, into the animal's bloodstream.  When a hungry female mosquito comes along and gets blood meal, she ingests the microfilariae and becomes infected.  Under the right environmental conditions, the next 10-14 days can cause the microfilariae to become infective larvae.  At this point, when the infected female mosquito bites another dog (or cat, ferret, etc.) the larvae are transferred to the animal through the bite wound.  When a dog is newly infected, it takes 6-7 months for the infective larvae to mature to adulthood.  Once the adult heartworms mate, the cycle can begin anew.

Heartworms can live within a dog for 5-7 years.  Males reach 4-6 inches long while females can be 10-12 inches long.  The average number of worms in dogs is 15, but can number from 1- 250.  Symptoms depends upon worm burden (how many worms are within the dog).  Dogs with low worm burdens can be asymptomatic, while those with heavy burdens can have exercise intolerance, hypertension, and possible failure of the right side of the heart.

*Both indoor and outdoor cats can get heartworm disease.  Cats are not as susceptible as dogs and heartworms do not thrive within cats.

The best treatment for heartworms is PREVENTION!  Check with your veterinarian about the best preventative method for your dogs and cats.  Remember, we have mosquitoes year round here in Texas, so your heartworm preventative also needs to be all year.