Zebra Mussels are Spreading: Found in Lake Ray Roberts near Denton, TX

Three years ago Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussels) were found in Lake Texoma, a reservoir on the Red River at the Oklahoma border.  This year, water samples were collected and tested for zebra mussel DNA from 14 North Texas Reservoirs.   The results came back negative except for the expected Lake Texoma, and the unexpected Lake Ray Roberts.  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) confirmed the DNA test with field collections of zebra mussels just below the Ray Roberts dam.   

Gary Saul, the TPWD Inland Fisheries Division Director, believes, “More than likely, it was a boat that operated in Lake Texoma or some other lake infested with zebra mussels and then was used in Lake Ray Roberts without first being cleaned, drained and dried.", but he also stated that, "In reality, we’ll probably never know.”

TPWD is very concerned about this finding, as Lake Ray Roberts is in the Trinity River basin, which means that zebra mussels are now in two Texas watersheds.
Read More.

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Native Species Fight Back: Evidence with Co-evolution Between Invasive and Native Species

Research at the University of Georgia indicates that some native Pilea pumila (clearweed) have evolved resistance to invasive Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) plants, and the invasive mustard appears to be countering the attack.  The study may provide the first evidence of coevolution between native and invasive plant species. 

"The implications of this study are encouraging because they show that the native plants aren't taking this invasion lying down," states Richard Lankau, assistant professor of plant biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Greenhouse and field experiments conducted over three years have shown that invasive garlic mustard produces more sinigrin (a compound that kills fungi that help native plants extract nutrients from the soil) in areas where more local plants are present.

"It looks like the native plants have evolved in response to the traits of the invader," Lankau says, because the native clearweed shows higher levels of resistance to sinigrin in areas where the two species have had a longer history of coexistence.
Read More.

Citrus Root Weevil: Recent Reports in the Houston Area

In 2000, Diaprepes abbreviates  (citrus root weevil) became established on citrus trees in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.  Over the last decade reports have moved up the Gulf Coast into Louisiana. In the last several months, there have been new reportings of this weevil in the Houston area.  

This species has an extensive host list, feeding on more than 270 plant species from 59 families.  The more common host plants include citrus, corn, sorghum, sweet potato, sugarcane, and Brazilian peppertree.  

If you see the adult weevils or have damage to plants you suspect is caused by the weevil, please contact Joe Pase.  If you collect a suspected adult Diaprepes root weevil, place the weevil in a small vial of rubbing alcohol and mail it to:
Joe Pase
Texas Forest Service
P. O. Box 310                  
Lufkin, TX  75902
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New Invasive Insect to the U.S.: The Elm Seed Bug Found in Idaho

Arocatus melanocephalus (elm seed bug), similar to the box elder bug, is a common invasive insect in southern Europe and was recently found in southwestern Idaho.  This pest doesn't pose a threat to trees, but does swarm houses and buildings by the masses.  

The elm seed bug is deemed a "significant nuisance", especially in the southern months, when they try to invade houses to escape the heat.     

They are approximately a quarter-inch in length, feed on elm tree seeds, and resemble tiny brown cockroaches with triangular back markings.  They do not pose a public health risk, officials said, but have an unpleasant odor, "especially when crushed," says Pamela Juker, a from the Idaho Agriculture Department.
Read More.
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More News

Win Free Weed Management Tools
As part of their 15-year anniversary celebration, Invasive Plant Control Inc. will be offering free prizes once per week for an entire year.  Registration for the IPC weekly prize giveaway will begin September 3rd 2012 and run every week until September 2013.

Natural Areas Conference - Call for Papers & Posters Extension!
Join conservation professionals in Norfolk, Virginia, for the 2012 Natural Areas Conference, hosted by the Natural Areas Association (NAA) with co-host National Association of Exotic Pest Plant Councils (NAEPPC). The focus will be addressing keeping natural areas programs relevant in today’s world and natural areas resilient in the face of change. Learn More.

West Nile Virus in Texas: 72 People Infected in 2012
West Nile Virus is most commonly spread by mosquitoes, learn more about how to protect yourself and how West Nile is impacting Texas residents.  

An Invasive Fish with a Potentially Serious Human Health Concern
The Pacu (Family: Characidae), a common aquarium fish, was recenly found in Lake Lou Yaeger Illinois.  This "toothy" fish was thought to pose no threat to human, but locals beg to differ. Learn More.

Website to Help Identify Emerald Ash Borer
The New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse and partners recently updated their emerald ash borer ID page with high quality digital photos and native look-a-like details. Go there!

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


The Invaders of Texas Program at National Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) Conference 

We want to thank all of our citizen scientists for making our trip to present at the National PPSR Conference possible.  The conference is August 3rd - 4th in Portland Oregon, and partnered with the Ecological Society of America Conference.  

Your invasive species reporting makes our program one of the most successful in the county. Learn more about PPSR and citizen science.

Commander Ben Brings Invasive Education to Nature Nights at the Wildflower Center! 

Commander Ben brought his Invasive Hunter Academy to the Wildflower Center to teach kids of all ages about invasive species and the problems that they cause.  Kids learned cool combat moves to take down invasives, and they also created an action diorama to capture their battle with invasives.
Ben created the academy for Kids’ Day during National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington D.C. earlier this year.
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Citizen Science Workshops

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 September 15th, 2012
Location: Houston Arboretum
Contact: Jessica Strickland

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

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