Rasberry Crazy Ants Have Spread to 21 Texas Counties

We featured the Rasberry crazy ants last December, and unfortunately they are spreading like "crazies".  They have now invaded 21 Texas counties and are found in major cities, including Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

Rasberry crazy ants are causing major damage to electrical systems because they emit a pheromone when shocked which then attracts hordes of ants.  They also pose a threat to livestock by infesting their respiratory systems and causing them to suffocate.  

If you think you have Rasberry crazy ants, please collect 6-12 specimens and send to:

Center for Urban & Structural Entomology
Department of Entomology
Texas A&M University
2143 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-2143

or contact Mike Quinn. - Read More
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Be Aware of Blueweed: A Noxious Weed Now Found in Texas

A local landowner first noticed several Echium vulgare (Blueweed) in her pasture approximately five years ago in western Milan County.  It now covers approximately 50 acres (pictured here), and there are verbal occurrence accounts in neighboring Burnet and Bell Counties.  

Blueweed is native to Europe and is considered a noxious plant in Washington and Montana.  It grows up to three feet tall with a deep penetrating tap root (12 to 32 inches).  It has a biennial life cycle, first forming a large rosette then a panicle of "scorpions tail" flowers.  

Blueweed is considered a serious threat for several reasons.  It can cause liver damage in livestock, dermatitis in humans, and hosts several serious crop-damaging pathogens.  
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Texas Parks and Wildlife Adopts New Rules to Stop the Spread of Exotics

Texas Parks and Wildlife adopted new rules designed to prevent further spread of exotic aquatic species into Texas waterways as part of the 2012-12 Statewide Fishing Proclamation.

The new regulations prohibit the transport of live, non-game fishes from certain reaches of the Red River, Big Cypress Bayou, and the Sulphur River.

Additionally, all water must be emptied from bait buckets, live wells, bilges, receptacles, and any other water-holding containers prior to leaving certain designated water bodies.–  Read More 
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Sudden Oak Death: New Host Plant Restrictions

The USDA-APHIS is issuing a Federal Order to restrict importation of known host plants of Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death).  Since 2003, APHIS has been active in limiting the spread of sudden oak death by requiring certification and testing of host plants from several European countries.  

Regulations are now more stringent, requiring certain countries to have pest exclusion programs that incorporates monitoring, sampling, testing, and validation.  APHIS will then approve the country to export materials into the U.S. Read restriction details

The restrictions apply to host plants for planting and all plant parts intended for propagation except seed of the plant taxa.

Check out the current APHIS-regulated host plant list.

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Coreopsis Beetle Outbreak:  Recently Observed in Blanco County West of Austin 

A small, rarely recorded, Coreopsis sp. leaf-eating beetle Phaedon desotonis was found last month in Blanco County.  This beetle has only been recorded in Texas a few times, and is also documented in Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida.

Ed Riley, from Texas A&M Department of Entomology, believes that this insect herbivore may have suddenly expanded its diet.  This "diet change" from a relatively rare native host plant to related more common species is expanding Phaedon desotonis range. - Read More.

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More News

Way To Go Commander Ben!
Ben Schrader (AKA Commander Ben) and his "Invasive Hunter Academy" was featured in USDA news. - Read More

An Invasive Pathogen Has Killed Millions of Bats In North America 
The death of millions of bats in Canada and the United States has been traced to an invasive pathogen from Europe, potentially transported to North America in someone's shoes. -  Learn More

Invasive Pests Awareness Month
The USDA dedicated the month of April for 

sharing information about the threat that invasive plant pests, diseases and harmful weeds pose to America's fruits, vegetables, trees, and other plants. - Learn More

Pterois volitans (Lionfish) Found in Texas Gulf
Several lionfish sightings have been reported in Texas over the last several months, including a large infestation last month in San Luis Pass near Galveston. - Read more.

If you would like your invasive species event or news listed in the next iWire, please send the details to iwire@texasinvasives.org.


Citizen Science Workshops

Sentinel Pest Network & Invasive Species Workshops
These workshops supplement the Invaders of Texas program by training citizen scientists to identify and report invasive pests of regulatory concern like Emerald Ash Borer and the Cactus Moth while they are out looking for invasive plants. The morning session will cover non-native, invasive pests, and the afternoon session will be a refresher course on non-native, invasive plants that occur in your area. 

Saturday May 12, 2012
Location: Livingston, TX
Contact: Piney Woods Lakes Chapter Master Naturalists 

Thursday May 17, 2012
Location: Brazoria County AgriLife Office (Angleton, TX)
Contact: Cradle of Texas Chapter Master Naturalists

Saturday May 19, 2012

Location: Aransas County AgriLife Extension Facility (Rockport, TX)
Contact: Kris Kirkwood

Saturday June 9th, 2012
Location: Texas Tech University Llano River Field Station (Junction, TX)
Contact: Dr. Tom Arsuffi

Invaders of Texas & Invasive Species Eradication Workshops
The morning session of these workshops will cover the Invaders of Texas program, focusing on training citizen scientists to identify and report invasive plants.  The afternoon will cover best management practices for control and eradication of selected species.  We will also cover a new feature on Texasinvasives.org, the "Eradicator Calculator", which is designed to help organize and record volunteer-based eradication efforts.  

Saturday May 5th, 2012
Location: Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center (Dallas, TX)
Contact: Dana Wilson

Saturday June 16th, 2012
Location: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Contact: Jessica Strickland

For more information or to request a workshop, please visit our Workshop Page.

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Invaders of Texas
4801 La Crosse Ave
Austin, Texas 78739

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