Crape myrtle bark scale, an invasive pest from Asia, was discovered in South Carolina, according to a media release from The Newsstand. Per its name, the Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae insect infests the crape myrtle plant. It was first discovered in Texas in 2004 and has spread to other states, but this is the first time it was sighted in South Carolina.
The parasite feeds on plant sap and leaves a residue behind, which can damage the crape myrtle trees, especially stems and trunks. According to the media release, the crape myrtle bark scale was found in parts of metro Columbia.
“It’s been there a while as the infestation is quite expansive,” said media release source Steven Long. “An investigation to determine the source of the infestation is under way.”
Long stressed the importance of sanitation and urged homeowners to take precautions with plant experts if they suspect an infestation.