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?

Share

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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 Shrubs Questions

Shrubs to hide neighborhood area in Philadelphia
April 04, 2010 - I live on a lane in Philadelphia, PA. Across the street from my home is a small hill with trees and beyond that is a driveway and homes. The neighbors that live in the homes dump their tree cuttings, ...
view the full question and answer

Need plants beneficial or attractive to bees in Dripping Springs, TX
January 27, 2014 - Can you provide a specific list of plants beneficial or attractive to honey bees in the Texas Hill Country (we raise bees in Dripping Springs, TX.) Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant, Deer Resistant, Evergreen Hedge Suggestions for CT
April 30, 2013 - I think I am asking for a lot, but here we go… Is there a deer tolerant evergreen that can grow in the shade and create a hedge of 5 feet tall here in CT? I am not opposed to ivy covering a fence if t...
view the full question and answer

Edibility of Washington Hawthorn berries from Williamsport PA
February 22, 2014 - Please tell me if Washington Hawthorn berries and leaves are edible and if so, how to prepare them. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Plants purchased at Duke Gardens From Durham NC
April 09, 2013 - I went to the plant sale at a local garden this week and bought some very small plants. I am happy to wait for plants to grow but wondered if I need to do anything special. I live in Durham NC and...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center