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PEST ALERT // Crape myrtle bark scale Crape myrtle bark scale A relatively new insect is appearing on crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia) across the Southeast. The insect was first noticed in McKinney, Texas, a north Dallas suburb, in 2004. At that time, entomologists suggested it was morphologically identical to azalea scale (Eriococcus azalea), but noted that molecular investigation might even- tually identify it as E. lagerstroemiae, known to be a pest on crape myrtle and pomegranate in Asia. Although the exact taxonomy is still not known, it is most commonly referred to as crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS). Since its initial sighting, the insect has been spreading across the Southeast at an alarming rate. The insect had spread throughout most of the Dallas- Fort Worth, Texas, area by 2010. The scale was reported in Ardmore, Okla., and Shreveport, La., in 2012 and Houma, La. (60 miles southwest of New Orleans) in 2013. In October 2013, the insect was confirmed in Ger- mantown, Tenn., (near Memphis) and in Little Rock, Ark., in January 2014. Heightened concern about this new pest is based on the speed at which it spreads and the common use of crape myrtles in landscapes across the U.S. Signs of infestation Crape myrtle bark scale is easy to iden- Adult female CMBS on crape myrtle bark. tify because in the U.S., it is the first and only bark scale to occur on crape myrtles. The adult females appear as white or gray felt-like encrustations on small twigs to large trunks, often near FREE Thrive 2014 Landscaper Plan Ahead Guide Perennials & Shrubs on one side… Flip it for Color! Sign up at ©2014 Ball Horticultural Company 14073-NM - #32 36 | Nursery Management FEBRUARY 2014 | 14073-NM Nursery Ad 3.375x4.875.indd 1 - #33 12/10/13 3:05 PM PHOTOS COURTESY OF JIM ROBBINS, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS This pest is spreading quickly across the Southeast