Monday, April 30, 2012

Super Duper Spring Plant Sale!

Looking for some color for your garden?  Maybe some veggie or fruit trees?

May 3 (Thurs) 10am to 6pm and May 4 (Fri) 7am to 9pm at the Norris Convention Center, the Bexar County Master Gardeners will be hosting a plant sale.  This will be held during the annual Texas Master Gardener Convention.

Norris Convention Center is located at 4522 Fredericksburg Road, entrance is at Wonderland of Americas (Crossroads Mall).

The plant sale everyone has been waiting for!  The plant sale will be introducing the new Orange Frost citrus plant which is a Changsha and Satsuma cross.  As well as, past and present, Texas Superstar selections for sale and a whole lot more!  Plants are custom grown and selected from Peterson Brothers, Greenleaf, Color Spot and Monrovia nurseries will for this special sale.  Plants have been hand picked by David Rodriguez, our Bexar County Horticulturalist. This sale is not only for attendees of the 2012 State Master Gardener Convention, but also local Master Gardeners and public are invited.  Monies raised from the sale will go towards the local Youth Garden’s Program and the Educational Outreach efforts of the Bexar County Master Gardeners.  See you there!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Upcoming Insect Programs

If you are interested in learning more about bugs, the Bexar County Extension office (and myself) have a few educational programs scheduled for this spring:

May 17 - Understanding Your Wildlife Neighbors, 2-4:30pm. Now, I know this is not an insect program, but Judit Green, Urban Wildlife Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been gracious enough to agree to give a program on wildlife. She will cover identification, biology, habits, prevention and management of various critters that we commonly come in contact with.

May 18 - Beekeeping Basics - 9am-3pm. If you are interested in beekeeping or want to get started, this will be an excellent program. Hosted by Texas AgriLife Extension, Bexar County Master Gardeners, and Texas Beekeepers. We will cover the basics of bee biology (understanding what happens in the hive) and beekeeping basics to get you started with your first hive. For more information or to register, please email me at We only have a few spaces left. Cost is $50.

May 29 - Bed Bugs 101 - 2-3:30pm - Its only a matter of time before we all encounter bed bugs! Learn bed bug biology, identification and inspection tips, prevention and management options.

** All programs will be held at the Bexar County Extension Office, 3355 Cherry Ridge, Ste 208.
Space is limited, please RSVP to Molly at 210-467-6575 or

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

White Hairy Moths Everywhere!!

If your home seems like it is being invaded by white and black, hairy caterpillars, you are not alone. Seems like nearly everyone who has a good amount of trees on their property is experiencing either a little Tussock Moth or Dagger Moth Caterpillar outbreak. The picture to the right is a Dagger Moth, but several calls have come in that may be Tussock Moths. Regardless, they're general characteristics and habits are very similar.

Tussock moths have tufts of white or cream color hairs all over their bodies. Dagger moths are also very hairy, although the hair may not be in tufts (or clumps). While the hairs are not poisonous, some sensitive individuals may be irritated by the hairs. I think it is just a good idea not to touch hairy or very brightly colored caterpillars.

I suspect with the warmer weather they may be a couple weeks ahead of their normal life cycle, which is to hatch from eggs April through June. They seem to be large enough that they are getting dislodged from trees and crawling up the sides of houses. Either this is the case, or they are moving away from their host plant, getting ready to pupate.

In Tussock moths, there are three generations per year, so you may expect another outbreak or two in the coming months.

If the caterpillars are a nuisance, use some soapy water to spray on the side of the house where they are crawling. Mix about 2 tbsp of soap with water. Be careful not to spray plants as some soaps will have herbicidal properties. Soapy water may not knock them down dead immediately, but they will crawl off and die. If you need the "thrill of the kill", use another insecticide labeled for caterpillars containing malathion, permethrin, or carbaryl.

Tussock moths and Dagger moths have a very broad host range of trees. Currently, we are not seeing damage to any trees (defoliation, stripped or sekeltonized leaves). If you are seeing damage and feel the need to treat, be sure the product you purchased is labeled for trees and/or shrubs.

For more information on Tussock moths see: