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
2 ratings

Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Shiro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Wildflowers
Title: Need help with a Coreopsis eating beetle in Shiro, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Mr.Smarty Plants,(Sorry, I kept messing up with my emails) Anyway, here goes: I usually have a beautiful meadow full of lanceleaf coreopsis blooming by now. Not this year. I found to my horror every single plant has been attacked before they could seed and devoured top to bottom by tiny dark iridescent beetles (about a quarter inch long) and thousands of their black nymphs marching like an army across the ground. Not only was every plant in the meadow reduced to sooty encrusted brown stalks, but any remaining single plants are being assaulted around my yard as well. It looks like I will lose them all. Do you have any idea as to the identity of these pests? I have been here many years and this is the first time this has happened. Thanks, Frustrated in Shiro.


The Lanceleaf Coreopsis Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)  is a spectacular meadow flower and Mr. Smarty Plants can understand your frustration upon seeing them turned into a salad bar by a bunch of crunching beetles. In searching for insect pests of  Coreopsis, I found mention of three beetle species that like to eat this plant.

Phaedon desotonis

Calligrapha californica

Acalymma vitta

From the description you gave, Phaedon desotonis could be your culprit.

Another possibility is one of a group of species known collectively as Flea Beetles.

For help identifying your beetle and tips for eradicating it, I suggest that you contact the folks at the Grimes County office of Texas AgriLife Extension.


From the Image Gallery

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

More Pests Questions

Flying insects attacking yucca flacida in Wilmington NC
June 11, 2010 - How do I treat flying insects from eating the flowers on my Yucca Flaccida shrub.
view the full question and answer

Fighting ants and bugs in Richardson TX
September 01, 2010 - Before my blue fall asters and my Clara Curtis (perennial) mums bloom in a few weeks, what can I do to help prevent the ants and other bugs from eating them to death- so I can enjoy them a bit longer ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Ash from Sun City, AZ
April 20, 2012 - What might be causing the leaves on my Texas Ash tree to have brown spots and curl up and die?
view the full question and answer

Mosquito repelling plants from Euless TX
July 24, 2013 - Are there any shade loving plants that repel mosquitoes for North Central Texas? I checked your site and saw nothing on this topic.
view the full question and answer

Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
June 24, 2011 - Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
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