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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - April 18, 2010

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Yucca with halticotoma valida bugs in Burleson TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have had Yucca plants in my yard for 10 years, but this year is the first time I have seen halticotoma valda, and there are thousands of them. How do I get rid of them? are they harmful to the plant. Thank you

ANSWER:

Most websites on yuccas would have you believe they are subject to no serious pests or diseases, but there are some. The yucca is a pretty tough plant, used to surviving in difficult environments, but these bugs are not attractive and you certainly don't want them to continue to multiply. Of the suggestions in the website referenced below, we would certainly go for the insecticidal soap first, which would have the least impact on the environment. A good hard freeze supposedly will deter them, as well, but we've probably had the hardest freezes in Texas that we will have for a long time, so if they are still with you, we would take a shot at getting rid of the little beasties. 

From a previous answer by Mr. Smarty Plants:

Here is a Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station website on the Plant Health Problems of Yucca . The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center neither recommends for nor against pesticides, but these sites have suggestions for the specific bugs in question. Always read directions carefully and follow them to the letter when applying pesticides. 

Pictures from BugGuide

 

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Trimming freeze-damaged Agave Americana in Alvarado TX
April 08, 2010 - What is the best way to trim Agave Americana cactus? The freeze this winter when it snowed has caused the leaves to die towards the bottom of the plant.
view the full question and answer

Agave with large stem growing
May 01, 2011 - It is a large stem growing from my agave plant in the middle of it. It looks scary and ugly, what is it? Is it poisonous? Is it rare? It gets taller and taller everyday, what to cut it.
view the full question and answer

Damage to Agave in New Braunfels, TX
August 21, 2008 - In a flower box, I have an Agave on which the leaves have been damaged. It looks as if a deer rubbed his antlers on it. Is there any animal in south central Texas that would try to eat an agave?
view the full question and answer

Succulents for 9150 feet in New Mexico
March 04, 2008 - What succulents could grow in Angel Fire, New Mexico, at an altitude of 9150 ft.in a northwestern windy exposure in rocky-ish soil? Are there any that are perennials? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Is a yucca going to have a stalk from Sylvania OH
March 15, 2012 - Hi, I was wondering if the stalk on a yucca plant grows back every year after it is cut off? How to tell if it is going to have a stalk because some of my yucca's do not have one? Thank you for your ...
view the full question and answer

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