Urban IPM

Friday, July 11, 2014

What to do when bees move in

I know that many people are concerned about honey bees and the decline in their population.  I don't want to get into a dissertation on that topic, but instead provide information on what should be done when the turn into a pest.  What?  Did she just say honey bees and pest in the same sentence?  How is that possible?  Well, a "pest" is something that is considered to be out of place, so when honey bees move into an unwanted area (under sheds, water meter boxes, wall voids, etc.) they need to go somewhere else.  Honey bees are capable of stinging and some people are very allergic to the venom, so stinging incidences can be of medical importance.  Taking all of this into account, there are times when bees need to be removed from certain places.

Removing honey comb from a wall void.
Honey bees are a non-native species.  Yes, both the ones that everyone adores and the Africanized bees that are villainized.  These are the same species of bee that are different subspecies.  Many times people talk to me as if Africanized bees are somehow separate and don't do the "good things" like produce honey, wax and other products; they do produce those items but they have the unfortunate nature of often being more aggressive.

So, what should you do if bees move in to an unwanted location?  First, check if it's a swarm or a hive/ colony.  You can find out more about the difference between the two here.  Once you have that down, you will know if you need to wait for the bees to move along on their own or if you need to call someone.  Yes, I said call someone.  This is not something that you should try to do yourself because of the dangerous stinging incidences that can occur.  Options would be beekeepers or pest management companies.  Now before everyone gets into a tizzy, I am not saying kill all bees.  This may have to happen in some cases, but there are times when honey bees can be removed and relocated.  There are beekeepers that provide both services and there are pest management companies that provide both services.  Your job is to contact someone who will provide you with the service that you want at a price point that you are okay with.  And yes, it will cost you to have them removed (with either method).  I know of no one who offers this service for free.  You should be able to look for companies or beekeepers in the phone book or by utilizing an online search.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Webworms invading Austin

I've been receiving calls on webworms that are in trees surrounding Ladybird Lake.  we also have webworms in a tree at the Demonstration Garden.  Since it's a demonstration garden, I'm using the webworms as a....you guessed it!....demonstration.

I'm sure that you have been told (even possibly by me) that you can manage webworms by removing webs and knocking them out the tree with a stick.  I decided to see how well it actually works.  So far, it's going pretty well.  I started two weeks ago when we had a pretty good covering of webs on the tree.  I took a metal pole (actually the handle of an insect net which I had in my office) and removed as much of the webbing as I could from the branches.  I made a pile of webbing and caterpillars on the ground while removing the webs and that got taken to the garbage when I was finished.  I also whacked on the tree branches a few times after removing as much of the webbing as I could to dislodge any caterpillars.  I repeated the process every Monday and Friday.  Today when I checked on the webworms, there was only one small new web spun very close to a small branch.  The rest of the area has dead leaves and some loose webbing clinging to the branches, but the webworms aren't actively there anymore.  I removed the small section of webbing I found today and whacked the branch.  I'll check the situation again on Monday.  While I'm not completely done with the demonstration, so far it is looking pretty good.

Webworms on 6/13/14

Webworms on 6/20/14

Webworms on 6/27/14

Friday, June 13, 2014

New media coverage and a (taped) FREE webinar!


In case you quite haven't gotten enough from me lately, I thought I would share media that I have been involved with lately.

I did a story with KXAN on juniper budworm- you can find that clip here.  Some of the information that I spoke about was not covered in the piece, so you can get the full skinny here.

I was also recently inteviewed on Central Texas Gardener where I discuss a variety of things- you can find that video here.  You can find the clip on their YouTube channel (which you should subscribe to if you like gardening).  You can find my previous interview that covered succulent pests here (I miss my purple hair....).

Here is a link to the story on mosquitoes that ran on Fox7Austin.

Here is a link on AgriLife Today on juniper budworms.

FREE webinar

For those of you that missed the webinar on fire ant management last Friday, it is now posted for your viewing pleasure at

We are taking next month off because of conflicts with the 4th of July.  But All Bugs Good and Bad will be back on August 1, with “Minimize Mosquito Problems” presented by Molly Keck: https://learn.extension.org/events/1373

More about the All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar series can be found at: https://learn.extension.org/events/1373