Author Archives: Rob Williams

Texas A&M Entomology Faculty Visit with South Korean Officials on Future Fire Ant Control

Two faculty members from the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M recently traveled to South Korea to help South Korean officials with a recent invasion of fire ants. The group consisted of Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, Professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Research Fellow, and Dr. Ed Vargo, Professor and Endowed Chair in Urban and Structural Entomology, who met with officials from South Korea. The follow-up meeting this year stemmed from a request made in 2018 when researchers from the Korean Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) requested help in… Read More →

Don’t let fire ants ruin your summer, take steps this spring

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications DALLAS – Dealing with fire ants is no picnic, but getting rid of them can be as easy as Step 1, Step 2, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service experts. Dr. Allen Knutson, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Dallas, said spring is a good time to control fire ants as this is when they search for food and build mounds, which makes them easier to locate. Broadcast baits are the core of AgriLife Extension’s recommended treatment. The method becomes effective as temperatures… Read More →

AgriLife Extension Community Fire Ant Control Program A Template for Success

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications ROUND ROCK – For more than a decade, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management program specialist Wizzie Brown has been engaged in a community-wide battle against one of the state’s most persistent pests – the fire ant. Since 2005, Brown and residents of the Wood Glen community in Round Rock, north of Austin, have collaborated in a neighborhood fire ant program to control the proliferation of fire ants, eliminate their unsightly mounds and keep them from biting area residents…. Read More →

Pietrantonio’s Fire Ant Research Featured in Podcast

Texas A&M Entomology professor Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio’s fire ant research project was recently featured in a video posted by the science media podcast website EarthSky. The podcast is located at, highlights the destructive impact of red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta Buren) and the ongoing basic research efforts to conceive better strategies to control this pest. Pietrantonio’s National Science Foundation-funded project, titled “Neuropeptide Receptors and Identification of Genes in Signaling Networks Involved in Reproduction and Nutrition in the Red Imported Fire Ant”, focuses on localizing the neuropeptide… Read More →

Cooler temperatures often move critters inside

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, Elizabeth “Wizzie” Brown, 512-854-9600, AUSTIN – Hungry hoards of mosquitoes, katydids, crickets, grasshoppers and other assorted pests-Texans have pretty much seen them all this summer, but will the onslaught stop once cooler weather hits? “The bugs of summer will subside, but a new slate is ready and willing to move right in with you,” said “Wizzie” Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service integrated pest management specialist at Austin. “Usually during drought conditions or when the weather begins to get cooler insects and… Read More →

Entomologist testing puts bite on many ‘home’ fire ant treatments

AUSTIN – Resourceful individuals have tried many  different “home” treatments for fire ant control, but unfortunately lots of them simply don’t pass the science test, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service entomologist. Wizzie Brown, integrated pest management specialist for AgriLife Extension in Travis County, has been putting alternative, non-chemical means of fire ant management to the test for the past few years. She now has collected objective, science-based data to either support or reject claims about the efficacy of some of these proposed home treatments. “I’ve previously… Read More →

Fire ants’ ‘aphid-ranching’ skills may be key to their successful U.S. invasion

January 3, 2012 By: Steve Byrns COLLEGE STATION – Like Old West cattle barons in a B-western, red imported fire ants are expanding their range and increasing their herds while laying wholesale waste to the range, according to an expert on the issue. Dr. Micky Eubanks, a Texas AgriLife Research entomologist at College Station, said the ants are using a practice known as “mutualism” to help them thrive despite the estimated $1 billion Americans pour into controlling them annually. “Mutualisms play key roles in the functioning of ecosystems,”… Read More →