Monday, January 27, 2014

If Flowers are Restaurants to Bees, then What Are Bees to Flowers?”

Want to learn more about pollinating insects?  eXtension has a fantastic opportunity for you, coming up February 7th ... and you don't even have to get out of your house to participate!

The eXtension All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar series is set to begin Feb. 7. Dr. Kathy Flanders, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the series is a continuation of the Don’t Bug Me Webinar series with an emphasis on good and bad insects that affect people every day.
“This webinar series will feature insects that affect homeowners and gardeners,” says Flanders. “These insects fall into two categories and we hope to provide information that is beneficial when treating your gardens or crops and pest-proofing your home, yard, family and pets.”
Webinars will be held the first Friday of each month at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The first webinar in the 2014 series will highlight pollinators, which are good bugs. If Flowers are Restaurants to Bees, then What Are Bees to Flowers? will be Friday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m.

Honeybee on flower. Photo courtesy of Jerry A. Payne,
Dani Carroll, a region Extension home grounds agent, will be moderating the Feb. 7 webinar. She says it is imperative to know the importance of the role pollinators play in the world around us.
“Bees and other pollinators are essential in production of more than two-thirds of the world’s food crop species,” Carroll says. “The necessity extends beyond things we grow in our back yard, like squash and apples. Alfalfa is instrumental in the meat and dairy industries and its growth depends on pollination.”
Upcoming webinar topics include pollinators, termites, ticks, spiders and fire ants.

Flanders says The All Bugs Good and Bad Webinar series is designed to provide useful tips for those interested in solid, research-based information.

More information can be found at All Bugs Good and Bad 2014 Webinar Series including how to connect to the webinars.  On Feb. 7, participants can use this link to connect to the webinar. Webinars will be archived and can be found on the All Bugs Good and Bad 2014 Webinar Series page.
All Bugs Good and Bad webinars are an extension of the seven webinars in The Don’t Bug Me Webinar Series, which spanned most of 2013, and included five webinars discussing fire ants, tramp ants, bed bugs and insects that invade homes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Will Texans Soon Kiss Their Ash Goodbye?

Texans, be on the lookout for an invasive beetle to ash trees: The Emerald Ash Borer.

The Emerald Ash Borer has recently been found just outside our doorsteps in Colorado in late 2013.  In fact, the Emerald Ash Borer may very well already be in Texas, as most experts believe there may be as many as three years time between introduction and detection!
Photographer: David Cappaert
Source: Michigan State University

Emerald Ash Borers lay their eggs in the crevices of the bark of the Ash and the larvae hatch and burrow into the outer sapwood of the Ash and feed on the phloem, stealing nutrients from the tree.  Eventually they will kill the tree, which is a major cost to communities for tree removal.  Decreased property value, threat to public safety, decrease air quality, detriments to wildlife and the ecosystem, and loss of trees are all reasons we would rather not have the Emerald Ash Borer in our area!

EAB spend the winter into the tree as the larvae, feeding.  They will pupate in the spring and emerge around late April (in parts of the world where they are currently found, although we may find this not to be the case in our warmTexas).

Signs that your Ash tree has EAB include: thinning at the top, splitting bark, and sucker growth at the base of the tree.  All signs that the tree is dying.

Like most boring beetles, they do prefer stressed or weakened trees, so be sure to care for your Ash trees during our ever present drought.

If you suspect that you have EAB, collect a sample.  We cannot verify that they are present in Texas, unless we have an actual specimen!  Collect a sample and contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

For more information on EAB, check out this website:

The adult Emerald Ash Borer is a strikingly green, metallic beetle, approximately .5 inches in length.