Control Crape Myrtle Scale


There is a new serious threat to one of our favorite trees; even more serious than the unsightly and oft mentioned crape murder.  As a reminder, crape murder is the extreme pruning of crape myrtles that results in weakened and deformed trees.  Prune correctly, y’all! Okay, jumping off that soapbox, let’s talk about the Crape myrtle Bark Scale.  It has been around the Southeast for years but this insect showed its’ destructive little head in Arkansas earlier this year…and it occurred in West Little Rock!  Are we gonna just take this or are we gonna fight?  We say fight!

Crape myrtle Bark Scale (let’s call it CMBS) is a small insect that appears as a white or gray felt-like encrustation.  CMBS might be found anywhere on crape myrtles, and often appears near pruning sites and branch crotches of more mature wood.  Often times, the first sign of CMBS is the black sooty mold on the tree bark.  This may be misleading since a more common and easier to control pest, aphids, can also cause sooty mold.  A close inspection will determine which pest is present.

As with most insects, there are several life stages, and the appearance of CMBS changes with the stages.  CMBS might be able to overwinter in the adult female and egg life stages, and crawlers and later stage nymphs have been observed overwintering under the loose bark and in cracks and crevices of crape myrtles in our area.  In one year, there could be at least two generations of CMBS.  This can be a difficult pest to control and it may take multiple years of treatment.  So, how do we fight this pest?

Our Ornamental Tree & Shrub Programs are designed specifically to control pests and diseases like CMBS.