En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 02, 2014

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Tiny red bugs on Mountain Laurel from San Antonio TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hordes of solid bright red tiny bugs are all over the bark of my Mountain Laurels. The infestation has me very worried. How can I deal with them? Thank you in advance for helping solve this problem.


We are up against a wall on this one. Here is a  previous answer on pests of Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel). Here is another previous answer about red-backed bugs. In neither case does it actually sound like what you are describing, and none of our sources seem to feel there is any insect pest that bothers the Texas Mountain Laurel except the genista caterpillar.

We have another idea. The genista catepilla is a pest of Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel). Also a pest of this plant and many others, is the aphid. And what is the main devourer of the aphid? Hippodamia convergens, convergent lady beetle (from the University of California Integrated Pest Management website). Go back and look at those bugs and look at the pictures and information on that article about them.

If that still doesn't sound or look right, we suggest you contact the Agriculture and Natural Resources Section of the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Bexar County. Trust us, if those are ladybugs on your plant, they will harm neither you nor the Mountain Laurel, but they will make lunch out of any aphids in the vicinity. While we are not entomologists, the Texas Extension service has entomologists on their staff and can help you more than we can.


More Pests Questions

Possible disease on Eastern Redbud
October 06, 2007 - Our Eastern Redbud appears to be suffering from our recent drought. The leaves are turning brown in July/August on a few branches. A few black spots appear on the leaves before they turn brown. Ot...
view the full question and answer

Antelope Resistant Plants for Casper, Wyoming
August 12, 2011 - What are some drought resistant, full-sun plants for Wyoming that are Antelope resistant - Deer are not much of a problem, but antelope are!
view the full question and answer

Care of butternut trees (Juglans cinerea) with bumpy growths
June 12, 2007 - I have two small butternuts, around 3-4 feet. One has developed very 'bumpy' reddish growths on the leaves that are actually stunting their growth. What do you think it is and what can i do to sto...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Goat damage to Arizona Cypress from Palmdale CA
June 28, 2012 - My goats stripped the bottom branches of my Arizona Cypress. Will they come back and how can I prevent future damage?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center