En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Wednesday - August 06, 2008

From: Port Monmouth, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amounts of bugs scurrying about but the leaves are no longer fully green or straight up. The leaves seem very muted in color and they seem to be wilting more and more. HELP!! How do I get rid of them before they kill my plants?

ANSWER:

We're still trying to get our minds around there being yucca in New Jersey. There are 28 plants that either are yuccas or have "yucca" in their names in our Native Plant Database. As we went through trying to find a likely candidate, we found that most of them listed their native habitat as Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Finally, we found one, Yucca filamentosa (Adam's needle) that is known to grow in New Jersey. There is also Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca) but it didn't appear to be growing anywhere outside the desert Southwest, either. Do you know which yucca you have?

The Floral Genome Project Yucca filamentosa has some general information on this plant. Nearly every website we visited on yucca assured us that there were no significant pests or diseases of the yucca if its cultural requirements were met. However, we did at last find a site that admitted they might have infestations of Halticotoma valida. See if the images on the referenced site match the bugs you are talking about. We also found several references to mealybugs as being a nuisance to yuccas. This eHow site gives you complete instructions on How to Control Mealybugs. Here is a page of Images of mealybugs. And, finally, here is a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website on the Plant Health Problems of Yucca . The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center neither recommends for nor against pesticides, but these sites have suggestions for the specific bugs in question. Always read directions carefully and follow them to the letter when applying pesticides.

 

More Pests Questions

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Dealing with beetles feeding on cholla cactus
June 20, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I bought a Cylindropuntia imbricata from the Wildflower center and it was growing like crazy. I recently noticed a lot of beetles feeding on it. Some are black and some are gra...
view the full question and answer

Cat deterents
May 01, 2007 - I was wondering if there is such a plant that will deter cats from going in your gardens. I have a problem with them using my garden as a litter box, and had heard that there was a plant that the...
view the full question and answer

Pill bugs in potted plants in Atlanta GA
June 14, 2013 - Hello, I repotted four aloe vera plants two days ago with a cacti soil and watered them thoroughly in terra cotta pots according to directions on the bag. Well the next morning the pots had pill bug...
view the full question and answer

Unknown pest of Texas Mountain Laurel from Round Rock TX
May 24, 2012 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is being denuded from the top down by something unseen. It's not the Genista moth larvae, as there are no worms and no webbing visible. The only clue that it might...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center