August 2016
Eradication Workshop to Be Held in Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, Austin on September 24

(Announcement submitted by Cliff Tyllick)

In this half-day, hands-on workshop especially for citizen scientists, you will learn how to go from observation to eradication in Austin city parks. You will:

  • Learn how Cliff Tyllick obtained permission to hold this event.
  • Girdle ligustrums and Chinaberries using only a pruning saw, carpet knife, and putty scraper.
  • Uproot invasives with Weed Wrenches and similar tools.
  • See the long-term impact of using these techniques consistently.
  • Learn a strategic approach to follow to ensure long-term success.
When: Saturday, Sept. 24, 9 a.m.–noon.
Where: Picnic Shelter, Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, Austin 78753. (Enter this location in Google Maps for exact directions.)
What to bring: Leather gloves, a water bottle you can refill, and any of the tools mentioned if you have them. (If not, don't worry—tools will be provided.)
What to wear: Sturdy, closed-toed shoes, long pants, a hat, and protection from the sun and poison ivy. (We won't plunge into it, but it does have a way of reaching out to us.)
RSVP: Cliff Tyllick, 512-784-1630, or
Cost: Free

All participants must sign a liability release at the beginning of the event. Participants as young as 15 are welcome, but a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign the consent and release of liability for them.





Credits: Cliff Tyllick

Controlling Cogongrass

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an aggressive invasive perennial that is invading mostly the southern U.S., including Texas. The U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station has produced very useful sources of information on this federally-listed noxious weed. They provide general information, an identification guide, and tips on how to control it. They note that using the right procedures, cogongrass can be eliminated within three years. To learn more, see "Cogongrass continues to invade the south", "Cogongrass can be stopped", and "Controlling cogongrass".

Because of its invasiveness, cogongrass is one of the focus species on the's Sentinel Pest Network list. If you believe you have found cogongrass, please submit a report.


Credit: Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service;  Bugwood,org


Credit: Chris Evans

New Texas IPM Coordinator Begins Work

Currently the Jack Hamilton Regent’s Chair in Cotton Production and Row Crop Insect Pest Management (IPM), Dr. David Kerns will return to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in the role of Statewide IPM Coordinator and Extension Entomologist. Dr. Kerns brings with him significant experience working with IPM Agents and field crop entomology.

Dr. Kerns was an associate IPM Specialist in Lubbock, TX, from 2007 until 2011, after which he went to Louisiana State University to work in the entomology department as an associate professor. He conducted entomology research at the Macon Ridge and St. Joseph branches of the Northeast Research Station. Read more.

David Hearns

Dr. David Kerns

Credit: Texas A&M AgriLife

Beetles Being Used to Control Air Potato in Florida

Air potato (Dioscorea bulbifera) is an invasive vine that overgrows native vegetation, which degrades habitat (learn more). It is a pest in eastern Texas, and is not easy to control. However, a community in Manatee County, FL, is using biological control to manage infestations of this vine. Officials of the Tara Preserve Community Development District recently released air potato leaf beetles (Lilioceris cheni) in eight locations (see photo of adult beetle to the right). It is not known how long control will take, but in other treated areas damage to the vine was extensive within a few months (see photo to the right). Air potato is a pest in eastern Texas. Learn more here, and here for an article about the beetles in Hillborough Co., FL. For more on the air potato leaf beetle, see this webpage of the University of Florida.

air potato beetle

beetle damage on air potato

Credit (both): Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Invasive Spotlight:
Brown Fir Longhorned Beetle
(Callidiellum villosulum)

The brown fir longhorned beetle (Callidiellum villosulum) is a wood-boring beetle that attacks trees in the Taxodiaceae (now placed in the Cupressacea). Originally from China, the beetle may attack North American members of the family, which include the sequoia (Sequoia), redwood (Sequoiadendron), and bald cypress (Taxodium). Due to the geographic isolation of some species, especially the sequoias, an infestation of these beetles could be especially dangerous. In addition, its native Chinese host tree species, which belong to genera that do not exist in North America, have been planted throughout the United States and thus may offer a foothold for the beetles to damage landscapes.

Adults are 6-12 mm long, chestnut brown in color, and thinly covered with long grayish stiff hairs (see photos at right). The male antennae are slightly longer than the body, whereas the female antennae are about two-thirds of the body length. The prothorax is wider than its length, and the two sides are rounded with no lateral spikes. The ventral portion of the thorax and the femur of all appendages are brownish-red and thickened. Some characteristics of the head and antennae may require a hand lens to see.

Larvae are about 10 mm long, light yellow in color, and the body is slightly flat. The mouthparts are blackish-brown. The pronotum has a pair of brown markings. The thoracic legs are receded. As with other longhorned beetles, they burrow in the wood under the bark.

This beetle appears to be spread by humans, especially in imported trees and in wood trunks of artificial Christmas trees imported from China. The adults are capable of flight, but it is unknown if they will be able to distribute themselves great distances. As recently as this past March (2016), about 60 live specimens were collected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, that had emerged from log furniture from China in a warehouse. In a nationwide effort coordinated by USDA-APHIS, furniture from over 40 states was collected and destroyed. (Information) While currently not established in Texas, individuals have been found at Texas ports including Houston.

Because of its potential threat to Texas, the brown fir longhorned beetle is a Report It! species as part of the Sentinel Pest Network, a component of If you believe you have found a brown fir longhorned beetle, please report this species. Because there are many native longhorned beetles that might be confused with the brown fir longhorned beetle, we ask that you collect a specimen to aid in identification.

Follow this link to learn more about the brown fir longhorned beetle.

Callidiellum villosulum

Credit: Steven Valley, Oregon Department of Agriculture,

Callidiellum villosulum setae

Credit: Greg Bartman, USDA-APHIS PPQ, Bugwood,org


brown fir longhorned beetle

More News

2016 Emerald Ash Borer Research and Technology Development Meeting
The Ohio State University is pleased to host the 9th Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Research and Technology Development Meeting at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wooster, Ohio. The meeting will take place October 19-20, 2016. The program will include submitted oral and poster presentations. Submissions for all EAB related research and technology development are welcome. Learn more and register.

GOOD NEWS! APHIS Declares Eradication of European Grapevine Moth from United States
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) has been eradicated from California and is lifting the Federal quarantine on 446 square miles of Napa and Sonoma Counties that have been under regulation since June 2010. More here.

Tips on How to Avoid Incidental Herbicide Damage
Managing invasive plants often requires the application of herbicides. The Southern IPM Center offers information on how to avoid damaging ornamentals and turf when applying herbicides. Follow these key principles.

Developing Strains of Soybean Resistant to the Kudzu Bug
The tiny kudzu bug (Megacopta cribaria), a native to India and China, decimates on average 20 percent of soybean crop yields in South Carolina and Georgia. This insect appeared in Georgia in 2009. Some wild relatives of soybean have evolved resistance to the insect pests after being exposed to them over the long term. Research is now underway to investigate the genetic components of defense mechanisms. This may lead to the development of strains resistant to the kudzu bug. Read more.

Biological Invasions Threaten Developing Countries
Invasions of alien species such as Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) threaten the economies and livelihoods of residents of some of the world's poorest nations, new research shows. These developing countries have the least capability to respond to invasives. Learn more.

Stowaway Frogs Being Stopped by Border Security in Australia
An analysis of stowaway frogs coming into Australia has shown that strict biosecurity measures at borders and within the country are reducing the risk of introduction of new ranavirus diseases by up to 50 percent. Read more.

Differences Between Plant and Animal Extinction Processes Forces New Look at Managing Threatened Plants
Invasive plants are a problem around the world, but are they just a nuisance or are they killers? So far there are no documented cases of native plants becoming extinct purely because of an alien plant invasion. However, researchers argue in a new paper that traditional methods of modeling extinction do not work well for plants. They note that plant extinctions occur on a longer time scale than animal extinctions. They propose an alternative method to guide conservation efforts for plants. Learn more.


If you would like to highlight a successful invasive species project or nominate a special person to be highlighted in an upcoming iWire, please send the details to

Sentinel Pest Network and Invaders of Texas Species Workshops

Invaders of Texas workshops train volunteers to become citizen scientists to detect and report invasive species. Workshops, which are free, include information on the Sentinel Pest Network, which serves to increase the awareness and early detection of the Emerald Ash Borer, Cactus Moth, Asian Longhorned Beetle, and other pests of regulatory significance.

Workshops are tailored to meet the interests of your volunteer group, and supplementary session examples include an introduction to the TX Invaders mobile application and the Eradicator Calculator, a feature on designed to help organize and track volunteer-based eradication efforts.

Upcoming Workshops:

NOTE:  The Workshop registration page is currently not working.  Please register by contacting the respective contact listed below, or check the Workshop page periodically.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Location: Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park (Austin, TX)
Contact: Cliff Tyllick>
This is an eradication workshop. You will not be able to register on the Workshop Page. See information in story above.

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Location: St. Michael's Catholic Church (Jasper, TX)
Contact: Sue Singletary

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Location: TBD (New Braunfels, TX)
Contact: Deedy Wright

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Location: Collins Academy (Jefferson, TX)
Contact: Stella Barrow

For more information or to register to attend a free workshop, please visit the Workshop Page. WORKSHOP REGISTRATION CURRENTLY NOT WORKING