En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Insects on non-native euonymus in Lake Orion MI

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 Non-Natives Questions

Information about cenizo care and care of non-native tibouchinas
June 25, 2008 - I just bought some tibouchinas and need some tips. I plan to plant them in an area that gets sun until about 2pm, then shade for the rest of the day. Will these plants thrive in this environment, or w...
view the full question and answer

Mid-summer watering needs of non-native dwarf Meyer Lemon tree in Austin
March 20, 2011 - I live in Central Texas outside Austin city limits. I've recently purchased a dwarf Meyer lemon tree and planted it in a large pot. It's doing very well. I will be out-of-state from July through ...
view the full question and answer

Protecting plants from birds near bird feeder
April 24, 2009 - I am happy to have several cardinal pairs living in my yard, but I need to discourage them from eating & destroying my purple heart planted under the huge cedar that holds my bird feeders. The cardina...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
November 02, 2011 - I have a plant that I would like to identify. It is a tall shrub/woody vine? (approx. 8-10 feet) that has very large thorns on its branches and stems. The stems remain green during winter. It loses it...
view the full question and answer

Plectranthus (native of South Africa) winter care and insects
September 26, 2007 - I was recently given a beautiful plant which is now in a pot in my yard. I live in Rochester, NY and need to know what to do with this plant in the fall. The plant is 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus p...
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