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Bugged by Tiny Gnat-Like Insects? What They Are & Where They're Coming From

Hackberry trees are pretty common in this part of Texas. If you’re not sure whether you have one in your yard – there’s a pretty obvious sign.

Insect experts say hundreds to thousands of the little insects that love hackberry trees are swarming right now.

"I’ve been getting lots of calls on hackberry psyllids," Texas A&M Agrilife Extension program specialist Wizzie Brown says.

Hackberry psyllids are tiny insects that develop on the leaves of hackberry trees. And – for whatever reason – they’re prolific right now.

"I really haven’t been getting calls on these in the twelve years that I’ve been here until the past two years," Brown says. "And I’m not really sure why that is. I don’t know if the drought plays into that – we were in such a big drought cycle and we’ve been getting decent rain the past couple years and so they’ve been thriving more – I really don’t know.”

Often people mistake these little bugs for a fruit fly or gnat – except there’s hundreds – or even thousands of them.

“For the people that have been having them, it’s just mass panic because it’s never just a few, it’s always… lots," Brown says.

The good news is, these hackberry psyllids are really just an annoyance and shouldn’t cause you any other problems. The best way to keep them out of your house is to make sure doors and windows are sealed – you may even need to put a finer mesh over windows. Or just wait til a good hard freeze.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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