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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 23, 2010

From: Lake Orion, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Insects on non-native euonymus in Lake Orion MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had a greenlane euonymus that had a few flies last year but was infested with thousands this year. We ripped it out, it was an 8 year old plant. Do you know why they are attracted to it now?

ANSWER:

We are a little confused; did you say you cut down the Euonymus fortunei 'Green Lane' and the  flying pests are still around? Maybe we can explain that.

Not very long ago we were asked why flies and wasps were hanging around a magnolia tree. In our research, we discovered that the magnolia is often infested with scale insects. This was followed by the this explanation of why the flying insects were attracted to that magnolia and, no doubt, to your euonymus.

"Another indication of magnolia scale results from the large quantities of sap sucked from the plant as scales feed. The sap provides a low-protein, high-sugar diet, and in order for the scale to obtain adequate amounts of protein, the insect must ingest excessive amounts of sap. Much of this sap is excreted by the scales, which produces a clear, sticky, sugary substance known as honeydew.

This honeydew coats twigs, leaves and anything under infested branches, including cars and patio furniture. If the honeydew is not removed, a more obvious, unattractive black fungus known as sooty mold begins to grow. This is often the first symptom of infestation that people notice. Yellow jackets, wasps and ants also are good indicators of infestations as they are often attracted to the sweet honeydew on which they feed."

The euonymus is susceptible to Euonymus Scale, as discussed in this Penn State Entomology article Euonymus scale. The 'Green Lane' is a selection or variety of Euonymus fortunei as discussed in these two articles from universities:

Euonymus fortunei 'Wintercreeper'  From University of Massachusetts Extension

Euonymus fortunei 'Wintercreeper' from Ohio State University

Because it is non-native, originating in China, this plant is not in our Native Plant Database. Because it is so susceptible to scale, it would be much better replaced with a plant native not only to North America, but to the area around Oakland County, MI in USDA Hardiness Zones 5b to 6b. The scale insect, Unapsis euonymi, is also non-native, having been imported from Japan and China, possibly on some of the imported  bushes.  Native plants have built up their resistance to native insects, as well as a certain amount of co-dependance as in pollination, over millennia. Native plants have also learned to live with the environment they are in, and require less water, fertilizer and maintenance to do well. If the flying insects are still hanging around, it is possibly in order to "farm" the honeydew being produced by scales on other plants. Treat the plant, hopefully get rid of the insects. 

 


 

More Pests Questions

Small white bugs on indoor hibiscus in Ohio
November 25, 2008 - My Hibiscus has small white bugs on the leaves with small white residue. Looks like very small pieces of white rice. This white rice is also covering the UNOPENED buds and making them fall off. It ...
view the full question and answer

Black bugs on yucca from Aledo TX
April 14, 2013 - We have flowering yuccas that have thousands of small black bugs that seem to be hurting the plant. They are not on any other foliage in our beds. What do I use to get rid of them??
view the full question and answer

Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
December 03, 2010 - My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of strange tiny creature in plant water
January 14, 2010 - I have a house plant rooted in water. I has been for over a year and the plant seems healthy, I change the water often and keep it clean. I now have noticed that something is growing it. A fish type o...
view the full question and answer

Pest damage to Yaupon shrubs in Austin, TX
September 18, 2011 - I have noticed pest damage in our 4 ft. yaupon. There are circular holes eaten on 90% of the leaf growth. Trunk & branches look untouched and healthy. Could this be leafminers? How can I care for it?...
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