December 2018
First Texas Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Found, in Tarrant County

The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis, has been in Texas since 2016. Adults were first found in traps in Harrison County and subsequently in Marion and Cass Counties, all in Northeast Texas. This is not unexpected, considering that the nearest populations of EAB are in south Arkansas and northeast Louisiana. However, no infested trees have been found there. Unfortunately, on December 7, 2018, Texas A&M Forest Service confirmed the presence of infested ash trees for the first time in Texas, in a new county much further west:

“Reports of the presence of the deadly emerald ash borer (EAB) in Tarrant County have been confirmed. EAB has infested and killed ash trees in the Eagle Mountain Lake area.

“Texas A&M Forest Service began investigating within the high-risk area following the discovery of a single EAB specimen last year (see this issue of the iWire). Prior to spring adult beetle emergence, the state agency collected larvae from area ash trees. Through positive DNA tests Texas A&M Forest Service confirmed the larvae to be EAB.

“All species of ash are susceptible to the destructive EAB. Infested trees die within two to five years after infestation. Urban tree canopy inventories estimate that ash trees comprise approximately 5 percent of the Dallas/Fort Worth urban forest.

"Texas A&M Forest Service has resources available to help affected communities identify signs of EAB infestation and symptoms that trees may display, as well as make decisions about preventative measures they can take and tree management and removal."

For more information on EAB in Texas, please visit this Texas A&M Forest Service website and our website.
EAB photos and resources can be viewed here.

To report emerald ash borers or suspected infested trees in Texas, please call 1-866-322-4512. You may also report emerald ash borers or suspected infested trees using the online ReportIt! form.

Emerald ash borer

Credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University

Fort Worth emerald ash borer Larva

Larva found in infested tree in Tarrant County. Credit: Allen Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service

Webinar: Managing Emerald Ash Borer

Join Dr. Phil Lewis, USDA APHIS, for the 1/03/19 'Urban Forestry Today' noonhour (Eastern) webcast as he highlights practical strategies and the latest research regarding the management of Emerald Ash Borer. Attend live & receive Free ISA/MCA CEU's by visiting & entering: 252-290-115.

emerald ash borer with wings spread

Credit: David Cappaert

Reminder: Be on the Lookout for the Cuban Treefrog in Southeast Texas

I would like to remind our readers in the Houtson area and along the southeast coast to be on the lookout for the Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis). This invasive frog preys on native animals and its population can grow quickly. It was recently found in the Woodlands, and we would like to keep it from establishing in Texas. More surveys will be performed later in 2019 by TPWD. In the meantime, learn more about the Cuban tree frog below as the subject of this month's Invasive Species Spotlight. You can also re-read the extensive article in the iWire from May of this year. Included in both are instructions on reporting and collecting the frogs.

Cuban Treefrog

Credit: Leanna Powers

Texas Gulf Region Cooperative Weed Management Area to Hold Meeting, Chainsaw Workshop, and Work Day During Port Aransas Whooping Crane Festival

The Texas Gulf Region Cooperative Weed Management Area (TGR-CWMA) will be holding events in association with the Port Aransas 2019 Whooping Crane Festival. Its semiannual meeting will be held February 21, 2 pm, at the Marine Science Institute. The meeting is open to the public and you are encouraged to attend. Come and meet us, and hear what the CWMA has accomplished and what we are planning.

The TGR-CWMA will also hold a chainsaw safety training workshop and a workday to remove Brazilian peppertrees on February 20. The chainsaw training will be held at the Marine Science Institute, 9 am to noon. The workday will be at 1 – 4 pm at the Birding Center. More details will be available in the next iWire, at our Facebook page, and at the CWMA Facebook page.

During the Whooping Crane Festival, February 21-23, the TGR-CWMA will have representatives at Paradise Pond and at a table at the Community Center. Stop by to see us and get information!


'Carp Cowboys' Round Up Invasive Asian Carp in Illinois

Silver and bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, respectively) have become a big problem in the Mississippi River basin. They can consume 20 to 120 percent of their body weight a day in microscopic plankton, disrupting the base of the food web, and have been proved able to grow up to 100 pounds while native fish have grown leaner. Females can lay up to 1.9 million eggs a year. The easily frightened fish are also known to jump as high as 10 feet out of the water, posing a threat to recreational boaters.

By 1986, Asian carp had stormed into the Illinois River, which researchers say has the highest concentration of silver carp on the planet. As populations of silver and bighead carp traveled farther upstream, their skyrocketing population has agitated fears that Asian carp could become the next disastrous invader to establish itself in the Great Lakes. Their likely route into the Great Lakes is through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that connects the Mississippi to Lake Michigan through the Chicago River and through the Calumet-Sag Canal.

One method the state of Illinois has been using to control the spread of the carp is to pay local fishermen to net them. Current strategies have successfully reduced the leading edge of the Asian carp population by 93 percent since 2012. By removing more than 1 million pounds of carp annually in the past several years, the state has contained the adult population to an area 47 miles away from Lake Michigan.

In addition, the Army Corps of Engineers has also proposed a federal project to install infrastructure at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to prevent Asian carp from moving into the Great Lakes. The projected construction costs now have climbed to $778 million, which would be split between the federal government and the state of Illinois, casting some uncertainty on whether sticker shock might cause some public officials to withdraw their support.

For much more information, including on the ironic decline of the carp in China, other proposals to control the fish, and what happens to the tons of collected fish, read this excellent article in the Chicago Tribune.

silver carp with person

Credit: Michigan Sea Grant , University of Michigan and Michigan State University,

bighead carp

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Geological Survey,

Invasive Spotlight:
Cuban Treefrog
(Osteopilus septentrionalis)

The following information is modified from the University of Florida Florida Extension Wildlife webpage on the Cuban treefrog.

The largest treefrog in North America is the Cuban treefrog (1.5 to 5 inches in body length), but it is not native to North America. It causes ecological problems as a predator of a wide range of native frogs, toads, and lizards, in addition to insects and spiders. This species was introduced to southern Florida from the Caribbean and has continued to spread. There is a breeding population in New Orleans, and they have been found in Texas! It is very important that those of you in the Houston area and along the coast from the Texas-Louisiana border to past Galveston to keep an eye and ear out for these frogs.

Description: The distinguishing characteristics of the Cuban treefrog are:

  • Size of the adults (up to 5 inches in body length, much larger than native Texas treefrogs);
  • Enormous toe pads (larger than toepads of native treefrogs in Texas), as large as its eardrum;
  • Bumpy skin on the back, like skin of a toad;
  • and Skin on top of head is fused to skull. A good test to determine if a frog is a Cuban treefrog is to grasp the frog firmly, but gently, and try to move the skin around on the top of the frog's head with your fingertip. Because the skin on the head of a Cuban treefrog is fused to the top of the skull, it won't move.

Cuban treefrogs can be highly variable in color -- from pale tan/pale green without any markings to dark green or brown with an even darker color pattern on the back and legs. Sometimes they almost look white when they are inactive or cold. The Florida Extension Wildlife page on the Cuban treefrog has photos that illustrate this variability.

Wear gloves or put your hand in a plastic bag when handling the Cuban treefrog. They secrete a slimy film to protect their skin, which can irritate the skin and eyes of some people.

Habitat: This species prefers habitat that is moist and shady -- in trees, shrubs or around houses. It is commonly found near ornamental fish ponds and well-lit patios.

Reproduction: The breeding season lasts from May to October. The voice, or call, of the Cuban treefrog is variably pitched, slightly rasping or like grating stone.

To listen to the call of the Cuban Treefrog, click HERE and select "Cuban treefrog" from the dropdown list for Common Name, and click on the "submit" button.

Here is a flyer from Louisiana describing the Cuban treefrog. An excellent, extensive and informative web page from Lousiana is here.

If you think you found a Cuban treefrog, please collect it if possible (using gloves) and report it to the USGS and to (put "Cuban treefrog" in the subject line, take up to 4 photos to submit and/or include a description, and include the location). Information on how to collect a Cuban treefrog can be found here.

Cuban Treefrog

Note large toe pads. Credit: Leanna Powers

cuban tree frog

Example of color variation. Note large toe pads and rough skin on the back, Credit: Denise Gregoire, U.S. Geological Survey

treefrog toepads

Source: Comparison between the size of toe pads of native treefrogs and the Cuban treefrog. Credit: Monica McGaritty, TPWD


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Potential Range for New Invasive Tick Covers Much of Eastern US
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Forget 'Needle in a Haystack'; Try Finding an Invasive Species in a Lake
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Missing the Forest for the Trees: An Unexpected Picture of New York City Forests
An inventory of New York City's expansive yet overlooked 'forested natural areas' reveals that, contrary to previous reports, native species still comprise about 82 percent of the city's forest stands. In the forests' mid- and understory, however, the proportion of native species fell significantly, suggesting that their dominance could decline in coming decades as invasive plants replace them. Learn more at

Recruiting Ants to Fight Weeds on the Farm
Harvester ants (Messor barbarus) that eat weed seeds on the soil's surface can help farmers manage weeds on their farms, according to an international team of researchers, who found that tilling less to preserve the ants could save farmers fuel and labor costs, as well as preserve water and improve soil quality. Learn more at

When 'Alien' Insects Attack Antarctica
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Invasive Species and Habitat Loss Are Biggest Threats to Australian Biodiversity
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Scientists Identify 66 Alien Species that Pose Greatest Threat to European Biodiversity
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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 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:

Sentinel Pest Network Workshop
Saturday, January 19, 2019

Location: AgriLIfe Extension Office, 607 North Vandeveer Street #100 (Burnet, TX)
Contact: Susan Montgomery

Saturday, February 2, 2019
Location: Mabee Library Auditorium, Headwaters of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, TX)
Contact: Pamela Ball

For more information or to register to attend a free workshop, please visit the Workshop Page.