Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale

Everybody, go out and look at your crepe myrtles.  Right now!  You’re looking for fuzzy/felt-y white patches on the bark.  If you find one look closer.  If it is a cluster of insects, squish a patch of them, if it ‘bleeds pink’ you probably have Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale (CMBS).  This is a problem.

Yesterday a customer brought in a picture of a crepe myrtle infested with white fuzzy bugs.  I had mealy bugs on my mind when I looked at the picture and even though I’ve never seen mealy bugs on a crepe myrtle I thought that may be the case.  However, after thinking about it, I’m worried the customer may have had CMBS.

Having CMBS in our area is not a good thing.  Since the scale insects responsible for CMBS are not native to our area, they have few natural predators at this time, allowing them to spread and do damage at a faster rate than might otherwise be the case.   I sold my customer a product that contains an insecticide and a fungicide spray which is my ‘go to’ for crepe myrtle problems because insect problems are generally followed by powdery mildew problems.  However, I wish I had sold him the same active ingredient product in a drench form rather than a spray.  A systemic insecticide drench is showing to be the most effective treatment at this time.   Multiple treatments are recommended.

Here are a couple links to related articles:

https://extension.msstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/publications/p2938.pdf

https://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/citybugstest/files/2010/05/EHT-049-Crape-myrtle-bark-scale.pdf

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