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

Sunday - April 18, 2010

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Yucca with halticotoma valida bugs in Burleson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have had Yucca plants in my yard for 10 years, but this year is the first time I have seen halticotoma valda, and there are thousands of them. How do I get rid of them? are they harmful to the plant. Thank you


Most websites on yuccas would have you believe they are subject to no serious pests or diseases, but there are some. The yucca is a pretty tough plant, used to surviving in difficult environments, but these bugs are not attractive and you certainly don't want them to continue to multiply. Of the suggestions in the website referenced below, we would certainly go for the insecticidal soap first, which would have the least impact on the environment. A good hard freeze supposedly will deter them, as well, but we've probably had the hardest freezes in Texas that we will have for a long time, so if they are still with you, we would take a shot at getting rid of the little beasties. 

From a previous answer by Mr. Smarty Plants:

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. 

Pictures from BugGuide



More Pests Questions

Control of grasshoppers from Goldthwaite TX
July 07, 2012 - How long do grasshoppers live. They are eating our flowers, plants and trees.
view the full question and answer

Plants that donkeys won't eat
August 08, 2012 - What plants/trees do donkeys NOT like? I live in Hawaii on the Big Island and they visit once a week in my yard. I like them but would prefer that they stay just outside. Unfortunately they like my...
view the full question and answer

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

Snail and slug management in Austin
May 27, 2007 - How can you get rid of large snails in the Austin, TX garden?
view the full question and answer

Why are small leaf pieces aligned on top of exposed root?
July 11, 2011 - Hi. An oak tree in my yard has one of its exposed roots covered in hundreds of small pieces of leaves. The pieces follow exactly the shape of the root above the surface. What insect would do this and...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center