Dr. Raul Villanueva, an AgriLife Extension entomologist in Weslaco, says most cities in the Valley are gearing up spraying efforts to help control mosquitoes in urban areas, but warns that rural residents, including farmers and ranchers, should take action to remove standing water and other potential breeding grounds.

Villanueva says other types of damaging insects cause concern after heavy rain events. He warns to be on the watch for both ant activity and termites.

“People will likely observe flying ants and termites in the coming days,” he said. “Ants and termites both will fly from their mounds, mate and find new nests.  Homeowners and others should be aware that if they find large numbers of winged termites or ants, they have infestations in their dwellings."

On the brighter side, entomologists say plant bug activity may actually decrease after heavy rains, though most will return quickly. An exception to this includes the Asian citrus psyllid, carrier of the bacteria disease known as Citrus Greening Disease, a major threat to citrus trees.  Villanueva warns recent rains will cause citrus trees to send out shoots, which is where psyllids lay eggs and reproduce. He says now is the time to consider another round of spraying in Valley orchards.

In spite of the two-plus years of drought across the Southwest, the old saying remains true, "into every life a little rain must fall." While that rain is a much desired precious resource these days, it is apparently important to remember a host of weather-related problems can easily follow.


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