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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 25, 2008

From: Hauppauge, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Yellow jackets on non-native crape myrtles
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hey Mr. Smarty Plants I have only 1 question. I have several Crape Myrtles that have numerous amounts (alarming) of yellow jacket bees on them. who what where when why etc? Should I be concerned? thanks for all your help.


Mainly, this is because of the time of year. This information was extracted from an article from Clemson University Extension on Yellow Jackets. Be sure and read the whole article, as insecticides, baits and traps are all discussed.

"Yellow jackets (Vespula species, Vespa species and Dolichovespula species) are considered beneficial around home gardens and commercially grown fruits and vegetables at certain times of the year because they feed abundantly on insects such as caterpillars and harmful flies. Unfortunately, in late summer and early fall, the yellow jackets' normal insect diet disappears and their feeding habits become a problem to man. The diet of adult yellow jackets consists mainly of food rich in sugars and carbohydrates. Yellow jacket colonies do not normally survive the winter, and the first hard freeze will eliminate most colonies."

You may need to go ahead and get after some nests now, but since you are in New York, it shouldn't be too long until your first hard freeze.  But be very careful, yellow jackets do not take kindly to being exterminated!


More Non-Natives Questions

Regulations for transporting plants to Texas from Florida
July 29, 2008 - We are relocating to TX from FL, I have a collection of potted palm trees and quite a few potted tropical plants (none are invasive)that I would like to bring with us, we will be traveling by car and ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of yellow fruit with many fingers
December 24, 2012 - This is a yellow lemon smelling fruit with many fingers. Yellow in color. Looks like an octopus.
view the full question and answer

Apache Pine for Dripping Springs, TX.
July 02, 2014 - Is the Apache Pine tree a good choice for planting in alkaline soil with excellent drainage?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing non-invasive shrub for privacy fence in Sugar Land TX
December 06, 2011 - I live in South Texas in Sugar Land. I was going to plant oleanders in my backyard along the fence as a privacy hedge, about 20 feet from my house. However, I was told they were a bad choice becaus...
view the full question and answer

Looking for the tallest okra stalk in Waco, TX.
July 22, 2011 - I am looking for the tallest okra stalk in Waco,Texas. Back in the 1950s, it was in the Waco paper but I can't find it. My Grandfather's name was Robert W. Goss of Waco, and he had his picture take...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center