Category Archives: INSECT

I’m a Leaf Baller, Insect Galler!

Written by Megan Turner – TPDDL Student Worker; Edited by Hannah Ayala – Extension Assistant Have you noticed strange bumps or swelling on your tree leaves? There could be something living in there! More than 2000 species of insects in the United States create these bumps, properly termed galls, to protect their young while they are developing. While most commonly caused by tiny wasps, they can also be caused by other insects, mites, nematodes, bacteria, and fungi. Eighty percent of galls reported in the US are found on… Read More →

Tomato Russet Mite

    Last week a tomato sample was diagnosed with tomato russet mites (Aculops lycopersici). These conical-shaped insects, usually translucent and yellowish, cannot be seen without the aid of a 14X hand lens. Russet mites cause damage by feeding on leaves and stems, giving them a greasy or bronze appearance. Infestation normally begins at the base of the plant and progresses upwards as lower leaves dry out. Left alone, these mites can kill plants. Fortunately, they can be controlled with miticides or sulfur. Hosts include tomato, potato, eggplant, petunia, tomatillo,… Read More →

In our email box – galls on live oak

Recently, I received an email via our PlantClinic email with a couple of photo wondering if the pea-sized “balls” on their Texas live oaks might be “fatal” to the trees. This is one of the few times that I get to give a happy reply.  Those galls on the oak leaves are caused by insects… gall-making insects.  This is quite typical on oaks in Texas.  Rarely, do these galls ever kill an established tree. I say rarely, because I remember a situation about 8 years ago when we… Read More →