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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Red Katydid Outbreak in Central Texas

There must be millions of these outside. They are feasting on all the live oak trees and have eaten all of my roses and some patio potted plants. I've killed about a hundred today, but to read this (below) on the internet - frightens me. I see about 5 of them on every 6-8 leaves on the oak trees outside.

"The Central Texas leaf-katydid is an arboreal or tree-dwelling species found mostly in oaks," Troxclair said. "Large populations of them can decimate oak tree canopies and swarm over property, though they're mostly considered a nuisance or annoyance."

Troxclair said he witnessed the previous explosion of Central Texas leaf-katydids in 2007 and remembered a large bottomland area near Pearsall where the rapacious insects had completely defoliated hundreds of live oaks. During that year, outbreaks were reported in Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Frio, Hays, Kendall, and Medina counties.

What I'm noting is they are eating the oak leaves, rose leaves, pomegranate leaves, bird of paradise leaves, some grape leaves - but they are leaving the herbs alone. The calendula, thyme, basil, chocolate mint, peppermint, bee balm, oregano, rosemary, lavender, self heal, skullcap are all untouched. They haven't moved to the raised garden bed area - I'm keeping a very close eye to ensure they keep out the the tomato and veggie garden!

Reference: http://www.hpj.com/archives/2010/jun10/jun14/0607TexasInsectNumbersIncre.cfm
High Plains Midwest Ag Journal

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