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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Saturday - May 10, 2008

From: Krum, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests
Title: Identification of red and black insects on Yucca
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have little red and black insects on my soft leaf yucca and I don't know what they are or how to get rid of them. They make the leaves rusty looking. Do you have any idea what they are or how I can get rid of them (preferably in an organic way).

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks the bugs on your Yucca arkansana (softleaf or Arkansas yucca) are probably Halticotoma valida (yucca plant bug). Ohio State University in their Plant Bugs on Perennials and Landscape Shrubs has suggestions for various ways to control these pests, including eco-friendly ways. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiement Station also has a list of insects (including H. valida) which affect Yucca spp. and means to control them, but their control methods are heavy on chemicals.

 

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Arkansas yucca
Yucca arkansana

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