Friday, July 13, 2018

Seminar on plant pest management- Saturday July 14, 2018

mealybugs on fennelI'm giving a presentation on plant pest identification and management at Round Rock Gardens (901 Sam Bass Road, Round Rock, TX 78681).  If we have enough time, I'll also cover some of the beneficials that can be found in the landscape. Bring your bug questions or samples that you may need help with.

WHAT: plant pest ID & management seminar
WHERE: 901 Sam Bass Road, Round Rock, TX 78681 (@ Round Rock Gardens)
WHEN: Saturday, July 14, 2018 at 10AM

Friday, June 29, 2018

"That Takes the Cake" Cake Show 2018

That takes the cake science of cake

While the event took place way back in February, I've been wanting to write about it and I'm just now getting to it.  So why in the world would I, who blogs about bugs, be writing about a cake show? Those who really know me, know that I love to bake....and I love to eat what I bake.....

I also love watching shows about baking- Great British Baking Show, anyone?  I used to be obsessed with Food Network's Cake Challenge shows and had a deep amazement for Colette Peters, Bronwen Weber, and Mike McCarey.  Another fun diversion I have to indulge all things baking is the annual cake show that happens in Round Rock.  I used to drag my husband along with me, and have taken the boy on a couple of occasions, but decided the past two years that I enjoy the show best when I go by myself.  That provides me with the opportunity to spend as much time as I want ogling items.

Sara Weber's cookie bug bitesSo all this is leading up to the 2018 show which was themed "Science of Cake". Could it possibly be any more perfect for me? The answer would be no, it could not.  So I went and totally geeked out on baked goods with a science theme.  My absolute by far favorite piece was a display by Sara Weber of Sara's Sweets.

Y'all, she did an entomological display.  Let me repeat....chocolate cookie bug bites!!  I fell in love with them instantly.  The display was so great and right on theme as it looked like it was pulled from a museum.  She even had a card that told what the insects displayed were!  So Sara, here's to you and the endless hours you most likely spent crafting your delectable cookie bugs.  This entomologist is forever a fan!

Sara Weber's cookie bug bites display

Friday, June 15, 2018

Webworms (...and bagworms)

Webworms or bagworms...which do you really have?  Many people have been asking me about "bagworms" as of late, but after asking a few questions I discover that they have webworms.  So, what's the difference?

· Form small cases that hold larvae, pupae, or female adults and eggs
bagworm· Cases are often found on evergreen trees & shrubs such as cedar, juniper, cypress, or pine
· Cases are made from silk and plant material laid down similar to shingles on a house, overlapping in layers
· Newly hatched larvae spin a silken thread & either are carried to a new plant by wind or attach themselves to the plant they are on and begin to build their own silken bag
· Bags remain on plants even if bagworms are dead
· Bags are transportable; larvae carry them along as they move about the plant
 · To manage bagworms, handpick bags off the plant and dispose of them

webworms· Spin webbing over branches of host tree to enclose foliage they feed upon
· Attack over 88 species of plants, including fruit, nut, and ornamental trees and shrubs
· Use web as a protective covering; spin webbing immediately after hatching out of egg
· Webbing remains on tree even if caterpillars are dead/ no longer there
· Webs can be pruned out of the tree or opened with a stick/ spray of water to allow predators to eat caterpillars
· When using a pesticide, webbing still needs to be opened

Friday, June 1, 2018

Attracting pollinators webinar online today!

When: Friday, June 1, 2018 at 1PM CDT
Where: online here

pollinator on flowerLast year in the series, we met our native pollinators. This year, we will learn how to attract them to our own yards and gardens. In this webinar presented by Elizabeth "Wizzie" Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, learn the fundamentals for creating your own pollinator oasis.  Moderated by Marcus Garner and Allyson Shabel, Regional Extension Agents, Alabama Extension. The link to the event is here:

Note: on June 1, 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 2018 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.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Harlequin bugs

harlequin bugPEST: Harlequin bug (adults about 1/2" long, red & black in color)

WHERE: cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, collards, etc.

DAMAGE: piercing-sucking mouthparts suck plant juices leading to browning, wilting, & death of plant

OPTIONS: pull out heavily infested plants; hand pick or vacuum insects off plants; pesticides (insecticidal soap, azadirachtin, permethrin, etc.)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Ant or termite swarmer?

With the warm(ish) temperatures- I know, it's been all over the thermometer in Central Texas the past few weeks!- and the rain, both ant and termite swarmers have been spotted around town.  So if these insects emerge around the same time, do you know how to tell the difference?

Ants will have the following:

    ant versus termite
  1. Antennae are elbowed
  2. Front wings are larger than hind wings
  3. No wing scale (they chew off their wings after the land on the ground)
  4. Middle part of the body is narrowed/ constricted

Termites will have the following:

  1. Antennae are straight
  2. Wings are of equal size & shape
  3. If wings are shed, a wing scale (the base part that attaches wings to thorax) is left behind
  4. Middle part of the body is not narrowed/ constricted

Friday, April 6, 2018

Buzz Pollination a.k.a. sonication

Buzz pollination is a method used by some bees- NOT honeybees- to release pollen from flower anthers.  The bees want pollen because it is a great source of protein and they use it developing offspring.

Here's a really cool (and short video) that explains and shows in detail how it works.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Lucas the Spider

Please, please, please tell me that y'all know about Lucas the Spider!  If you don't, where have you been?!?!  Lucas is the cutest spider on Youtube and he has various fan club pages on Facebook.

Lucas was created by Joshua Slice and is voiced by his nephew.  Lucas was created after Slice saw a photo of a spider online and he has created a character that is adorable, hoping to challenge fear of all things creepy-crawly.

You can find the videos of Lucas here.

The Dodo has a great clip about the creator of Lucas the spider.

I love Lucas!!

Friday, March 9, 2018

It's officially spring....crane flies are out

crane flyWhat goes hand in hand with spring in Central Texas? ....well.... the smell of grape sweet tarts from mountain laurels blooming, pink buds on Red bud trees, and the sight of my dog jumping around trying to capture crane flies in the backyard.

Crane flies are a harmless insect that can sometimes become a nuisance when they come into the house.  Crane flies spend the majority of their life as larvae in damp locations- think edges of ponds, streams, wet logs, etc.  They only live a few days as adults, long enough to emerge, mate, lay eggs (females of course), and then die.

Some people think that crane flies are giant mosquitoes.  They're not.  Others think that crane flies are predators of mosquitoes. Again, they're not.  Crane flies often don't a eat a whole lot, but may sometimes feed on nectar or honeydew.

So if you see what appears to be a giant mosquito clumsily flitting towards you, don't panic, it's just a crane fly looking for love (possibly in all the wrong places....).

Friday, February 9, 2018

hissing cockroachWhat do you get a beau who loves cockroaches?  Why, you name a cockroach for them!

The Bronx Zoo has various packages available staring at $15 for a basic naming of a cockroach and going up to $75 for a package that includes naming a roach, a cockroach pin, cockroach chocolate candies, and cockroach socks!  For those of you who do not know me well, a fun fact is that I LOVE weird socks (today I'm wearing Tacosaurus socks) and when I saw the cockroach socks it was love at first sight!  While I think the price for the deluxe package is a bit steep at $75 (or if you just get the socks, $35 is still pricey), I still really hope that my husband tracks down some cheaper cockroach socks for me.....

Friday, January 26, 2018

2018 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series- FREE!

The 2018 All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar Series kicks off Friday, February 2nd  at 1 pm CST! 

Our speaker, Norm Haley,  from Alabama Extension, will be will be discussing “Feral Hogs, Ecology, and Control”.  The webinar will be recorded, so you can watch it any time.  To watch a webinar, just log in as a guest 15 minutes before the webinar begins. Please share this with anyone who might be interested. You can find the login information below. Thank you for supporting our program and we hope you listen in on February 2nd!

Event starts: Friday, February 2 at 2:00 pm EST
Event ends: Friday, February 2 at 3:00 pm EST

As the numbers of feral hogs continue to rise in the United States, so do the problems that they create. Get a plan! Learn about their biology, distribution, and management strategies in this webinar presented by Norm HaleyAlabama Extension. Moderated by Mallory Kelley and David Koon, Regional Extension Agents, Alabama Extension. The link to the event will be Note: on February 2, 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 2018 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 ServiceClemson Cooperative Extension and University of Georgia Extension.

Here's the skinny on the full line up for 2018:

February 2 Feral Hogs, Ecology, and Control by Norm Haley

March 2 Misidentified Pests in the Landscape by Erfan Vafaie

April 6 Argentine Ants and Others by Dr. Eric Benson

May 4 What Everyone Must Know About Fleas by TBA

June 1 Attracting Pollinators to Our Yards by Molly Keck

August 3 Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, Oh My! byLynn Braband

September 7 Winterizing Your Home to Keep Out Pests byJanet Hurley

October 5 Structural Misidentified Pests by Wizzie Brown

November 2 Lice, Scabies, and Mites by Dr. Nancy Hinkle

December 1 Pantry Pests by Dr. Dan Suiter

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Austin 7th Annual Beekeeping Seminar

When:        Jan. 27, 2018 
Who:           Austin Area Beekeepers Association
Where:       Norris Conference Centers, 2525 W Anderson Ln #365, Austin, TX 78757
Cost:          $60

The mission of this daylong seminar is to educate people of all experience levels in sustainable science-based bee husbandry and to provide support to worthy bee charities. The lion’s share of the proceeds are donated to the Texas A&M Honey Bee Lab, the Texas Beekeepers Association Queen’s Program, the Texas Master Beekeeping Program and other bee charities. 
honey bee on passion flower


This is a daylong seminar offering 5 different educational presentations running concurrently every hour throughout the day. This will provide many beginning and advanced subjects to choose from. A separate beginner track has been formatted covering a variety of startup topics for soon-to-be or very-new beekeepers. A beginner beekeeper will learn the fundamentals of honey bee biology and behavior, how to select the equipment you will need, where to buy bees, how to set up your apiary, how to light a smoker, feeding, the fundamentals of honey extraction, queen finding, requeening and annual management.

For additional information you can email Lance Wilson at

This organization is non-profit and 100% of the proceeds of this event will be used to promote sustainable beekeeping practices and provide support to bee charities.

Other Sessions will include:
-Honey Bee Management 1 and 2
-Nutrition Management
-Honey Bee Biology and Behavior
-Top Bar Management 1 and 2
-Effective Varroa Management for Robust Populations
-Brood Disease and Pest Control
-Swarm Capture Techniques
-Raising Queens
-Simple Queen Cell Production
-Learn Honey Extraction Techniques
-How to Grow Your Apiary Business
-Successful Sales and Marketing
-How to plant Beescapes
-Bees as an Ag. Exemption
-Queen Finding and Requeening
-Honey Bee Reproductive Biology
-Making Splits
-Equipment Building Workshop
-Smoker Lighting Demo
-What Every Beekeeper Should Know About Foraging
-Impact of Miticides on QMP
-Varroa Monitoring Workshop
-Honey Bee Health and Nutrition
-Preparing for a Honey Show

Professor Juliana Rangel – Entomology at Texas A&M
Mary Reed - Texas Apiary Inspector
Mark Hedley - Owner of Spiral Horn Apiary
Dan Aurell - Texas A&M Tech Transfer Team
Ryan Giesecke - Trinity Valley Beekeepers President
James & Chari Elam - Owners of Bluebonnet Beekeeping Supplies
Dodie Stillman - Certified Texas Master Beekeeper
Elizabeth Walsh - Ph.D. Student of Entomology at Texas A&M
Tanya Phillips - Certified Texas Master Beekeeper
Karl Acuri - Austin Area Beekeepers Assoc. (Co-Organizer)
Becky Bender - Texas Master Naturalist
Brandon Fehrenkamp - Owner of Austin Bees
Pamela Yeamans – Certified Advanced Level Beekeeper (TMBP)
Chuck Reburn - Certified Texas Master Beekeeper
Ashley Ralph - Area Director Texas Beekeepers Assoc.
Steve Butler - Owner of Company Bee
John Swan - Owner of Wicked Bee Apiary
Dennis Herbert - Past Pres. of the Bell-Coryell Beekeeping Assoc.
Lance Wilson - Certified Master Craftsman Beekeeper (GMBP)