Have You Heard of the Crape Myrtle Bark Scale? Pest Control Arlington, TX Pros’ Warnings

Crape myrtles are beloved lawn and landscape ornamentals, praised for their looks, a relatively high level of freedom when it comes to pests and high crops’ added value on the farming markets. Not so long ago, however, specialists in agriculture, horticulture, and pest control in Arlington, TX found a new exotic pest attacking crape myrtles. As usual, like almost all pests, this crape myrtle black scale (CMBS) has found its safe heaven in Texas. CMBS starts to be a real threat and all homeowners should be informed about the dangers. Today, our pest control Arlington, TX pros share their knowledge and their tips on this relatively new pest threatening your crape myrtles.

What Is the Crape Myrtle Bark Scale?

This insect has been discovered in Texas back in 2004, seemingly originating in Asia. In its native range, the scale feeds on the bark of crape myrtles and pomegranates. By 2012, the insect spread throughout zones 8 to 10 and has damaged plenty of crape myrtles plantations.

As identification is concerned, CMBS is quite easy to notice:

  • It is a 0.08 inch (2 mm) long insect in a white to gray color. If you look up closely you will see the insect surrounded by dozens of pink dots (its eggs) and tiny crawlers.
  • A CMBS infestation is even easier to diagnose: you will see your crape myrtles’ bark, twigs or branches covered in what appear to be felt-like white or gray encrustations sticking to crapee myrtle parts; if you crush these encrustations, the scales exude pink “blood”-like liquid.

How Does a CMBS Infestation Look Like?

Besides observing the female scales forming a disgusting crust on your beloved myrtles, our pest control Arlington, TX recommend you make a thorough inspection of the trees’ trunks and barks. You will quickly notice a black sooty mold on the bark. If you are not accustomed to this pest yet, you may mistake this black sooty mold with the one specific to the crape myrtle aphid – a common myrtle pest not many worry about.

In order to correctly differentiate between a CMBS infestation and an aphid one, look for the white/gray adult scales on the bark and twigs, and the pink blood exuded when crushed. If you are still not sure what’s what, call your pest control Arlington, TX experts and let them establish a definitive diagnosis.

Life Cycle and Control of the CMBS

After thorough research, specialists concluded that two to three generations of the scale may occur each year in Zone 8, and up to three or four generations in Zones 9 and 10, with a suspected fourth generation observed in the Dallas area. Through early April to mid June you should really keep an eye on your crape myrtles, as this is the eggs’ lifecycle and it is important to take early measures before an infestation escalates to the point of disaster. The most severe infestations can lead to serious plant damages, but the overall quality and looks of the myrtles will be altered even by mild to moderate infestations.

As control is concerned, our pest control Arlington, TX specialists recommend you call them as soon as you see the early signs of an attack. There are no definitive methods yet, but a combination of insecticides, insect growth regulators, organic tree cleaning methods and other strategies do have positive results in the containment and deterrence of the pest.

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