Monday, March 23, 2009

Invasive Landscape Pests Seminar

April 16, 2009 1-3 p.m.

Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas

17360 Coit Road Dallas, TX 75252

It started in the 1950s with fire ants and the invasion continues today. Newly imported and exotic insect pests threaten to disrupt Texas horticulture, upset natural ecosystems and cause added expense and heartache for home owners.

Master Volunteers and landscape maintenance professionals have an important role to play as critical “first detectors” of these new pests. This two hour seminar will address new or potential exotic pests likely to be found in our region. We will learn about the new chilli thrips, pink hibiscus mealybug, azalea bark scale, emerald ash borer, Formosan termite and Caribbean crazy
ants. Hands-on sessions will focus on identification and management. You will also learn steps to take if you suspect you have found a new pest. Be the first in your community to be ready for these new invaders.

Training will be held in the Pavilion building at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Dallas on April 16th from 1:00-3:00. The meeting is free and open to all Master
Volunteers, garden club members, rosarians, landscape professionals or any citizens with a green thumb. Trainers will include Extension entomologists Allen Knutson, Scott Ludwig, Mike Merchant, and Kim Schofield.

If you would like to attend, please let us know by April 15th.
To register, or for more information, contact the Dallas AgriLife Center at 972-231-5362 or email

Friday, March 20, 2009

Termites are swarming!

I was wondering when it would happen....we got the rain last week and it's been warming up this week....

The termites are here! The termites are here!

I was on my way back from lunch pondering what I should blog about today and I looked down and saw a termite swarmer crawling on my hand. How's that for a serendipitous moment? It was a subterranean swarmer...cute little bugger. I, of course, let it go to fly away where the winds will lead.

So what does all for this mean for you, my readers? Well, if you're a pest management professional, prepare for the phones to ring non-stop and lots of termite inspections. If you're a homeowner, I would use it as a gentle reminder to inspect your home for termites or a have professional do it for you. How, do you wonder, do you inspect your home for termites? Well, let me tell you.....


  • Examine around the foundation of your home for shelter/ mud tubes. If found, tubes can be broken open to see if there are termites inside.
  • Watch for areas where the foundation is completely covered with soil. You may want to consider reducing the soil level so that the foundation can be viewed.
  • Inspect areas of moisture build up. This could be near the foundation if the soil doesn't slope away from it and sprinkles water flower beds or by AC units.
  • Check areas near swimming pools that are splashed with water.
  • Look at gutters and eaves for areas that might leak or cause water damage.
  • Inspect any areas with wood to soil contact (fences, trellises, etc.).
  • Inspect wood areas- hardwood floors, door and window facings, baseboards, etc. Check for any weakened areas in the wood.
  • Inspect walls and ceilings for moisture damaged areas. Discoloration or staining can often be a sign of water leaks.
  • Examine any cracks in the slab or expansion joints for termite entry.
  • Look for blistering of paint on walls.
  • Inspect areas where pipes/ plumbing penetrate the slab (i.e. bath traps). If there is no accessible area to the bath trap, install a hatch or vent so inspection can be performed regularly.
  • Examine attic area for mud/ shelter tubes, wood rot or damaged wood.
  • If the house is pier and beam construction, inspect the crawl space (area between the house & the ground). Look around the piers for mud/shelter tubes.
These inspection tips are for subterranean termites (including formosans), but not drywood termites. Drywood termites do not need contact with soil like subterranean termites.

On a side note, Mike Merchant has a post on some new information on Colony Collapse Disorder. You can check out his blog Insects in the City.