Crapemyrtle pest to be targeted by $3.3 million grant to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

by Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

The most popular flowering shrub in the U.S. has a new ally in a fight against a new, devastating exotic pest.

A $3.3 million grant will fund the study “Systematic Strategies to Manage Crapemyrtle Bark Scale” to be led by Dr. Mengmeng Gu, associate professor and ornamental horticulturist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, College Station. Continue reading

Crape myrtle bark scale study reveals tree treatments to fight pest

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

The second year of survey data tracking crape myrtle bark scale has provided researchers information they believe will help mitigate the pest’s effect on trees, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Erfan Vafaie, a AgriLife Extension entomologist and integrated pest management program specialist in Overton, and other collaborators in College Station, Huntsville and Dallas, have monitored pest numbers the past two years to help determine crape myrtle bark scale’s seasonal life cycle and peak crawler activity. The data collected has helped researchers develop strategies against them. Continue reading

New tree pest has arrived in NC

by Steven Frank, NC State University

A couple years ago I began warning about a new pest that was spreading throughout crape myrtle country. Now, the crape myrtle bark scale has arrived. From the severity of the infestation it looks like it actually arrived many years ago but now it is “official.” This is bad news because crape myrtles are one of our most commonly planted trees in yards and along streets. Crape myrtles are typically almost maintenance free (unless you top them) but now they will require pest management to stay healthy and beautiful. Continue reading

Researchers begin tracking crape myrtle bark scale populations

Black, sooty splotches pepper a line of 10 crape myrtle trees along Broadway Avenue in Tyler. The popular ornamental trees wear the tell-tale signs of bark scale infestations.

Erfan Vafaie wrapped five branched on three crape myrtle trees, which is standard protocol for he and the six other researchers studying the bark scale, with double-sided Scotch tape to trap crawlers as they move along the tree. Continue reading

New pest attacking crape myrtles in the South

by Kathie Rowell, special to the Times

Crape myrtles paint the South in candy colors every summer.

Unfortunately, the trees that brighten our hottest months are under attack by a foreign invader — crape myrtle bark scale.

Continue reading