Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 25, 2008

From: Hauppauge, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Yellow jackets on non-native crape myrtles
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hey Mr. Smarty Plants I have only 1 question. I have several Crape Myrtles that have numerous amounts (alarming) of yellow jacket bees on them. who what where when why etc? Should I be concerned? thanks for all your help.

ANSWER:

Mainly, this is because of the time of year. This information was extracted from an article from Clemson University Extension on Yellow Jackets. Be sure and read the whole article, as insecticides, baits and traps are all discussed.

"Yellow jackets (Vespula species, Vespa species and Dolichovespula species) are considered beneficial around home gardens and commercially grown fruits and vegetables at certain times of the year because they feed abundantly on insects such as caterpillars and harmful flies. Unfortunately, in late summer and early fall, the yellow jackets' normal insect diet disappears and their feeding habits become a problem to man. The diet of adult yellow jackets consists mainly of food rich in sugars and carbohydrates. Yellow jacket colonies do not normally survive the winter, and the first hard freeze will eliminate most colonies."

You may need to go ahead and get after some nests now, but since you are in New York, it shouldn't be too long until your first hard freeze.  But be very careful, yellow jackets do not take kindly to being exterminated!

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Norfolk Pine suffering in Corpus Christi TX
August 02, 2011 - About ten yrs. ago I transplanted my Norfolk Pine into the ground in my backyard. With all the frosty weather of 2010/2011 the Spring brought a browning/dying of a lot of the Norfolk Pines in this are...
view the full question and answer

Non-native ixora full of weeds in Miami FL
July 29, 2011 - My Ixoras are full of weeds look like some kind of berry. Is there a way to get rid of them?
view the full question and answer

Edible plants beginning with I, T, X and Z in Colorado
March 26, 2009 - My friend would like to know a fruit or vegetable that he would plant in his garden and come back yearly. The plants would have to start with the letters I,T,X, & Z. It has to be edible, of course.
view the full question and answer

New growth on Amur Maple turning black in McPherson, Kansas.
June 29, 2010 - Re: Amur Maple bushes Approximately 2 yrs old, 4 ft tall. New growth at the end of some branches is turning black. Plants are mulched with grass clippings. We live in Kansas. Thanks for any info....
view the full question and answer

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