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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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Monday - December 08, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests
Title: Problem with leaf cutting bees in Houston, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have four Arapaho crepe myrtle trees in my backyard and two have leaves, especially the young leaves, being eaten by something. I do not see ants of beetles on the leaves and have not seen any bees although the leaves look like the damage done by the leaf cutting bees. I used the BAYER ADVANCED 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & Feed Gal Concentrate Liquid when I planted them early this summer and that was extremely effective in ridding the leaves of aphids. However, the leaves are still being eaten almost as fast as the tree grows them. Please tell me any suggestions you may have. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants has found several links about leaf cutting bees that he will share with you. The damage that they do to the leaves is pretty distinctive, so your diagnosis is probably correct. There are pictures in some of the links.

 http://buginfo.com/article.cfm?id=103

 http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05576.html

 http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/misc/leafcutterbees.html

http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/leafcutter-bees.html

http://www.beautifulwildlifegarden.com/bee-ready.html

The gist of the articles is that there are few effective insecticides against the bees, and since they are pollinators, killing them is ill advised. The one method of control that was mentioned was using netting to keep the bees away from the plant.

 

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