En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 22, 2013

From: Pensacola, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Identification of insects on crepe myrtle in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have large colonies of striped bugs on large crepe myrtle in my backyard. They stay in large groups and have long antennae. There are larger black bugs among the groups that appear to corral and guide the packs along. They do not appear to fly. I have seen all ages of these bugs from teeny tiny babies about a mm in size to the larger ones I've seen that are about 1/4" long. I have a picture to send you if it will help. Thank you for your assistance!


Our focus and expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Insects are certainly associated with plants, but we aren't experts on insects.  I did ask a local entomologist if he had any idea what the insects you might be seeing on your crepe myrtle (native to southeast Asia, India and Australia, but not North America) might be.  He said it sounded like a Hemipteran, but since it is in Florida and his area of expertise is Texas, he couldn't be more specific than that.   He suggested that you contact someone in your Escambia County IFAS Extension Service office.  They may have had experience with these insects on crepe myrtle trees and/or they can probably suggest a local entomologist for you to contact.


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

Herbicide on Habiturf from Austin
May 31, 2014 - Can you recommend an herbicide that is safe to use on a Habiturf lawn? I followed the directions to put in a new Habiturf lawn about a month ago. The grass seedlings are doing well in places, but ...
view the full question and answer

Insects attacking Gregg's Blue Mistflower from Comfort TX
June 20, 2013 - I have a beautiful stand of Gregg's Blue Mist flower that have been attacked by an unknown insect. The new growth is curled and stunted and it is not flowering. I'm not alone..I've seen the Gregg'...
view the full question and answer

Varmints disturbing plants in NH
August 04, 2011 - I planted herbs and perennials, then put paper down and bark. At first an animal just disturbed the paper around the plants, exposing it. Today two plants are dug up and are completely gone. No sig...
view the full question and answer

What are the webs floating in the air? Are they harmful to plants?
October 03, 2010 - Austin, TX has experienced fall weather for the past week..low humidity, nice temps, sunny skies. But long webs are connecting from trees to our plants to the porch. Not on the trunk of the tree like ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center