Friday, May 29, 2020
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Manage Mosquitoes for a Safer and More Enjoyable Summer

Mosquito Webby Melinda Myers

Don’t let the buzz of mosquitoes keep you indoors. Most mosquitoes are a nuisance, causing rashes and itching but some species can transmit diseases that can make you sick. Understanding how they breed and spread disease can help you gain the upper hand in the battle against these pesky insects.

Mosquitoes serve as a carrier (vector) in the spread of certain diseases. It starts when they feed on an animal infected with heartworms or an animal or person with West Nile, Saint Louis Encephalitis, Zika or other mosquito-vectored disease. The young heartworm or virus is taken in with the mosquito’s blood meal. The heartworm larvae or virus is then transmitted to other organisms when the mosquito feeds on them.

Read more: Manage Mosquitoes for a Safer and More Enjoyable Summer

Texas Garden Icon-The Purple Sage

Cenizo flowerBy Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director at Quinta Mazatlan

Along with our friendly pride, we have various symbols that officially represent Texas. Today we are recognizing our native shrub, the Texas Purple Sage. When it rains in the Valley, you will notice this shrub as the purple flowers dominate the plant. The old timers in Texas called it the Barometer Bush as it has a habit of blooming right before a good rain. The native plant has been featured in many a Texas Tile like the famous western novel, “Riders of the Purple Sage”.

Read more: Texas Garden Icon-The Purple Sage

Bring in the Birds with These Winning Plant Varieties

EchinaceaSombreroBajaBurgundy AllAmericaSele WEBby Melinda Myers

Fill your gardens with beautiful plants that produce an abundance of seeds the birds will love. You’ll enjoy the flowers as well as the birds that visit to dine on the seeds. Best of all, there is no feeder to refill or clean.

Sunflowers are likely the first seed-producing plant that comes to mind. Their dark brown centers turn to seeds that attract a wide variety of birds and of course squirrels to your yard. Add a unique flare to your sunflower collection with the All-America Selections (AAS) winner Sunflower Ring of Fire. Its chocolate brown center is surrounded by a ring of red petals tipped in gold. The 4- to 5-feet-tall plants reach their peak late in the season, adding a fresh look to any flowerbed.

Read more: Bring in the Birds with These Winning Plant Varieties

5 Tips To Keep Mosquitoes Away

Summer is on its way, which means so are mosquitoes. The flying pests invade neighborhoods like an army, but they aren’t just a backyard nuisance with bites that itch. They also can carry dangerous diseases, including West Nile virus and Zika.

Most regions of the U.S. have issues with mosquitoes, but knowing prevention and mitigation measures can stop them from mushrooming into a big problem, says Dr. Craig Stoops (www.mosquito-authority.com), a retired U.S. Navy medical entomologist and chief science officer at Mosquito® Authority, a mosquito control company.

Read more: 5 Tips To Keep Mosquitoes Away

Virtual Memorial Day Ceremony with George P. Bush

Join us in honoring our Texan Veterans this Memorial Day

AUSTIN — On Monday, May 25th, Texas Land Commissioner and Chairman of the Veterans Land Board George P. Bush will be hosting a virtual Memorial Day ceremony to honor and remember our military servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The year 2020 has brought many unforeseen changes. However, one thing that has not, nor ever will change is our unwavering dedication to Texas Veterans and remembrance of the ones we have lost.

Read more: Virtual Memorial Day Ceremony with George P. Bush

One Special Evening a Cactus May Surprise You

Moonlight Cactus Queen of the night QM 5 12 20By Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlan

One night a year, the Night Blooming Cereus bursts open with beauty. Few get to witness this glorious sight as they close before the morning sun. The cacti typically bloom all at once to attract pollinators like the Sphinx Moth. They need to bloom, set fruit and have their seeds dispersed before the end of their very short blooming season.

Read more: One Special Evening a Cactus May Surprise You

Lush Peonies Add Beauty and Fragrance to Early Summer Gardens

Peony Sarah Bernhardt photo credit Longfield GardensBy Melinda Myers

Set aside a sunny spot in your garden or landscape for a few easy-care, herbaceous peonies. These traditional favorites are treasured for their bountiful early summer flowers, vigorous, shrub-like habit and amazing longevity. Peonies blend nicely with other perennials and are a good addition to both formal and informal garden designs.

The peony’s sumptuous flowers and captivating fragrance have been admired by generations of gardeners. While many other plants come and go, peonies have staying power. The variety ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ was introduced in 1906 and has been popular ever since. Its plush, pale pink flowers have silvery tips and open late in the peony season.

Read more: Lush Peonies Add Beauty and Fragrance to Early Summer Gardens

Spring is the time for Texans to ‘two-step’ toward fire ant control

bootIt’s as easy as 'one-two' to manage imported red fire ants

Written by Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

The Two-Step Method is the fire ant control method most preferred by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Now is an ideal time to take the first step to fire ant control, said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts.

“Spring is a good time to begin your imported red fire ant control because this is the time of year when the ants are searching for food and starting to build those mounds that make them much easier easy to locate,” said Mike Merchant, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension urban entomologist at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas.

Read more: Spring is the time for Texans to ‘two-step’ toward fire ant control

Texas Veterans Commission letter honoring Memorial Day

st txMay 25, 2020

My Fellow Texans,

Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a day for Americans to offer tribute and honor to the heroes who laid down their lives to preserve our freedoms.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. It was not until after World War I, that the day was expanded to honor those service men and women who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was officially declared a national holiday by an act of Congress.

Read more: Texas Veterans Commission letter honoring Memorial Day

Camo is my happy color

Common Pauraque on Thornforest FloorBy Colleen Hook, Executive Director at Quinta Mazatlan

One of the most near-perfect camouflaged birds is the Common Pauraque. The Pauraque has an understated beauty marked in brown-black and grey patterns and can just “disappear” on the Thornforest floor. While Pauraques are an adaptable species, they need forests to live and will leave areas that are heavily built up. Forests are important for many reasons from providing homes, to providing food, medicines and helping us breathe and keep cool.

Pauraques are unlike most other birds, as they really don’t construct nests. They make a scrape in the ground and lay eggs on the Thornforest floor on fallen leaves. A clutch consists of 1-3 eggs which are pink colored with buff spots. Incubation takes about 20 days and is carried out by both parents.

Read more: Camo is my happy color

In celebration of momma birds

Eastern Screech Owl QM 6 16 18Colleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlan

Springtime means new baby birds and celebrates rebirth and motherhood. Mother birds take parenting very seriously from building the nest to incubating the eggs and to finding food for her young. To quote Proverbs 31:10-31, “A mother’s work is never done”.

Bird nests are fascinating and as a general rule, the mother is the skilled builder designing the nest for support, shelter and camouflage. Some nests are intricately designed and others are scrapes in the ground. Let us look at the seven styles of Avian Architecture!

Read more: In celebration of momma birds

Stinging caterpillar season has arrived in Texas

spiny oak slugWritten by Susan Himes, Susan.Himes@ag.tamu.edu

AgriLife experts warn stinging caterpillars can cause contact rashes, painful reactions

As the weather warms up and people begin spending more time in their yards, parks and forests, more people will be coming home with a rash or bug bite.

However, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts say before you blame a flying insect or a poisonous plant for a skin ailment, you may need to consider another culprit – stinging caterpillars.

Read more: Stinging caterpillar season has arrived in Texas

The Century Plant—It’s Time to Bloom

Century Plant FlowerColleen Curran Hook, Executive Director of Quinta Mazatlán

The Century Plant only blooms once in a lifetime every 10 to 25, years so the century thing is an exaggeration, but a quarter of a century is still a long time. The plant is monocarpic in that it flowers, sets seed for pups and then dies. But it leaves plenty of pups or small plantlets at its base to begin a new life cycle.

Read more: The Century Plant—It’s Time to Bloom

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