Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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
3 ratings

Sunday - March 02, 2008

From: Eaton, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Infestation of flies around euonymus in summer
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 3 shrubs planted in my backyard. I think they are a type of euonymus (but I'm not sure). My question is why do they attract huge nasty flies. The first year we had them they didn't. But the last few years in the summer they attract tons of really big flies. Is there anything I can do about this?

ANSWER:

Okay, first, let's make sure what plant we're talking about, as you say you are not sure if you have an euonymus. This Clemson University Extension website has an excellent description of euonymus and recommendations for its care and control of pests. On this site, mention is made of one variety called Euonymus kiautschovicus, which apparently attracts bees and flies during its blooming season in late summer. Take a look at this page of Images of Euonymus kiautschovicus and see if you recognize it as your plant. That was the only mention we found anywhere of flies being attracted to any euonymus plant. According to the USDA Plant Profile for that plant, it is found only in about 5 states, all to the east of you.

Since all of the euonymus species are natives of the Far East, although distributed widely throughout Europe and North America, they are not in our range of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is focused on plants native to North America. However, we do try to help gardeners with plants having problems, even when they are not native. Have you also noticed more bees around your plant when it is blooming? Since the blooms are not particularly spectacular, and if you believe that is what is attracting the flies, you might try nipping the blooms in the bud, as it were. That would be a disappointment to the bees who are also coming to your bushes, but at least they wouldn't be killed with an insecticide spray if you went that route. Pruning to eliminate the buds before they bloom would be the least expensive and least damaging to the environment, and is what we would recommend in this case. Try it for a summer, and see if it works.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Ground cover for Central California from Concord CA
July 19, 2012 - I live in a part of California where the summers can be very hot and dry but quite cool and wet during the rainy seasons in the wintertime. The soil around my home is very dry, rocky and infertile. I...
view the full question and answer

Care for a non-native Syringa vulgaris (lilac)
February 19, 2008 - I inherited a lilac bush when I bought my house. It grows in a bed right in front of the house but grows away from the house, not in a straight up and down manner. This winter we had a 12" snow fall ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese maple
September 28, 2008 - I have a small Japanese Maple that I planted last fall. I planted it under a huge pecan tree where it gets dappled shade. It has grown very little this spring and summer and the leaves are gray and ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native weeping willow in Inman SC
March 30, 2010 - I planted a weeping willow tree last summer and it thrived wonderfully. This year the buds have came out but it has yet to produce leaves where all the others in this area has. I am wondering maybe if...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.