In 2013, it was reported in Tyler, TX; Houma, LA (60 miles southwest of New Orleans); and Germantown, TN (near Memphis). 13). Scale insects can quickly destroy your plants, causing yellowing and dropped leaves. Thank you so much! Download a printer-friendly version of this publication: Crape Myrtle Bark Scale: A New Exotic Pest, View more Gardening & Landscaping information ». Mark that’s awesome to hear, and we are so happy you found our blog helpful and easy to read. As the female nymph matures, it secretes waxy white threads that become felted or matted into a thick whitish to grayish scale covering its entire body. Southern favorites, crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica), produce showy, long-lasting summer blooms. What is crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS)? <3 - Denise. If not, when should I reapply? Having Crape Myrtle Bark Scale on your plant likely won’t kill the plant, but a heavy infestation will have a lot of the sooty, black mold, which can make a … It is a slow process, but the bark will return to its original color down the road. The female’s body shrinks as eggs are pro-duced. Thanks for your time and the information. For the first time after 10 years, the tree did Not blossom ( no indication of one single flower). Spring came and they still looked terrible. Is it too late to bother treating or should I leave the scales alone until spring? The males pupate and develop external wings during the last instar. You will be throwing away a lot of crape myrtles if you toss them out every time due to bark scale since it’s so prevalent now. -Denise. It comes in granular and liquid form, and provides 12-month long-lasting systemic protection against the scale. The crapemyrtle bark scale, Acanthococcus (=Eriococcus) lagerstromiae(Kuwana), was first confirmed in the USA in 2004 in the landscape near Dallas (TX), although it was likely introduced earlier. As a crop, it brings in $46 million in farm wholesale value per year. How do I get them to look like a tree. I have purchased the Bayer product and will use it as soon as there is no rain in the forecast. In more southern areas, sooty mold may be mistaken for that of the crape myrtle aphid (Tinocallis kahawaluokalani), a common insect pest in some areas. Would this bark scale be the reason my myrtles didn’t bloom much this season? It also reduces blooms and weakens some trees. Hi Mary, I am so sorry that I missed this message last month. 10) or drench (Fig 11). After the scale has died you will just see a white shell as shown in the pictures above and you will not be able to see any pink coming from the scale once smashed. On new growth and in heavy infestations, the scales may be distributed more uniformly on the branch (Figs. Thanks for your advice about white scale. -Denise, Yes if the trees are not treated for 3+ years then it could hurt it enough to kill it in my opinion. Crape myrtles are still a tree that we highly recommend for North Texas as they are adaptable to a wide range of soil types, heat tolerant, and drought tolerant. Bayer will have a 100% success rate on wiping out the scale. This scale lives and thrives on crape myrtle, suggesting a different identity for it. Their is no cure for this disease no matter what blogs you find on the internt. Garden Guru Mike Westphal explains how to treat and prevent crepe myrtle bark scale. Pamela, Hi Pamela, thanks for your question. I have never seen the bark scale attack other plants, but yes the Bayer Advanced can be applied to many types of plants. I always use chemicals as a last resort. I would definitely recommend that you contact Bayer with those questions. Should I peel off the black parts of the bark before I spray it? I was glad to find out that we could save them! Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia ssp.) The application rate depends on the tree trunk size, so you will just need to measure around the tree trunk and then pour the appropriate portion of granules or liquid around the base of the tree. I like mine smaller like a large bush. When crushed, these scales exude pink “blood”-like liquid. You can always check them by smashing them. We just bought our house and they didn’t take care of the crepe myrtle. Just ordered crepe myrtles to plant in my sunny yard where I need a little shade. For crawlers and larvae, you will need a minimum of 3 applications in a 7-10 day rotation using the Bayer 3-in-1. My question is, if this happens again, is there a preventative or can we treat them in an attempt to save them, or is it best to do what we did before? Learn how to get rid of scale for good in this in-depth guide. A soil drench will also control aphids, Japanese beetles and other pests. Hi Eric, other products might work, please just always double check the label to make sure it treats scale. Scale and aphids are the biggest nuisances that I see on crape myrtles. Avoid crape myrtles with significant mechanical damage (Fig. Here in our personal gardens we prune our crapes up about twice a year to keep the trunks cleaned up. Washing will also remove much of the black mold that builds up on the bark of infested trees. I went to several local garden centers, asked questions, showed pictures and nobody had a clue. 6. I do want to mention that we are in no way paid or sponsored by Bayer. Most gardeners are first alerted to CMBS by the presence of black sooty mold on the bark. They will be able to advise you better than I. I should have used the word “Treat” and not “Spray”. Many people who call us describe their trees as covered in white dots, or white cotton like bumps. If you notice symptoms of scale insect infestation on your crape myrtles in areas of Texas not mentioned in this article, please contact Mengmeng Gu (mgu@tamu.edu, 979.845.8567), Mike Merchant (m-merchant@tamu.edu, 972.952.9204), or your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service office. You also said I can spray the Bayer any time the plant is NOT dormant? The ants will disappear later, don’t worry about them. Yes with the Red Tip Photenias you likely have Entomosporium leaf spot. When crushed with a finger, it will ooze out a pink substance. Crape myrtle bark scale will appear like a white waxy crusty dot found on the tree trunk, branches or bark. After the first molt, the nymphs become sessile. is a deciduous shrub or tree that ranges in height from 3-foot dwarves to towering trees of 50 feet. A suspected fourth generation of the scale has been observed in the Dallas area. I’ve learned a lot via Google search regarding the Cotton White and black bark growth on my trees. I am not familiar with the product called “Eight” but the Bayer product I recommend can be applied at any time while the tree is not dormant so it’s actually absorbing the product. A&M has identified this pest as Eriococcus lagerstroemiae, and suspects that it was brought into the U.S. on a crape myrtle plant. Good luck! -Denise. I would definitely recommend that you contact Bayer with those questions. Thank you, In Arkansas, crawlers and later-stage nymphs have overwintered under loose bark and in cracks and crevices. Thanks! – Denise. – Denise. Crape Myrtle Bark Scale (CMBS) It is a serious threat southern crape myrtle trees. Critters will always be out and about but only treat when you actually see something and try not to treat while they are blooming. To kill the scale we recommend Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed Concentrate. To prepare Bordeaux mixture in a quantity suitable for a backpack sprayer, dissolve 1 pound of copper sulfate in 1 gallon of warm water in a plastic bucket. Thank you for your question Laci. I would go ahead and apply it now. Most everyone can save their trees if caught early on. Scrub down the trunk of the crapemyrtle with a mild solution of dishwashing soap and water using a long-handled brush to remove both the scale and sooty mold. Thank you. Hi Trudy, Thanks for your message. If you live in the Mid-South, you most likely have a crepe myrtle in your yard or certainly in your neighborhood. What happened? Thx for all the advice here and your time, Hi Mike, Honestly I would try to save them if you can. It doesn’t kill the trees, … Is this product dangerous to pets or other animals like humming birds, squirrels or even bees? As it feeds, it excretes a sugary solution known as “honeydew” (similar to aphids, whiteflies, and other sucking insects). Over the years we have just found their products to be the perfect fit for our customers needs. Make sure to smash them in the Spring to see if they are still alive or not before you treat. Inspect the tree, if you suspect the scale, you can treat now. Will the black bark change back to it original bark color? For scale to kill a crape it would take several years of neglect. Next, apply a systemic drench around the plant. As with most insects, there are several life stages and the appearance of CMBS changes with the stages. Winter … I knocked off most of the scale with my hose sprayer, followed by spraying with a product called “Eight.” I then fertilized the plant with a granular product. Apply when crawlers are active and spray to coat the affected area, this is usually spring. 2014. Also just know even if the scale die they do not fall off. Now that I’ve discovered your recommendations, how soon before I can apply the Bayer product, please? I am actually working on an update to this blog with a more in depth treatment plan since some people see adult scale, while others might just see the larvae and crawlers. -Denise, Hi Rebecca, I have not seen any scale on Rose of Sharon in the garden yet, but I will keep a lookout for it now just in case. Having been raised in Germany where there is lots of vegetation. It has black bark all over the tree (looks like it’s been there for years), but it’ll still blooming in some parts. The most likely culprit is a scale insect found in China, Japan, and Korea. Crape Myrtle Bark Scale Identification and Control, Publication 2938. Yes, the black sooty mold will fade off the back over time. For crepe myrtles, does this mean measure each trunk and add them together, or measure the overall circumference of the crepe at the base? Crape myrtle bark scale is relatively easy to identify. The current recommendations for control are both removal by hand and the use of winter dormant oils. Hi Joe, good eye on that. After all, they’re the finest flowering shrubs in the South (personal opinion!). Hi Nicki, Thanks for your kind words about our blog. If you notice any pink oozing out then they are still alive. Third cause could be tree stress and shock from pests. First site I’ve come across that explains in layman terms on how to kill an save my trees. Hi Meg, thanks for your comment. This evening I tried to spray them off w/the water hose and noticed they were moving…what a weird bug. We have had ample rainfall, so watering isn't necessary right now. Occasional pests here and there are going to happen to all trees as some point, but this is super easy to treat. Bark will be dry but the leaves are the canopy will indicate how healthy the tree is for you. Required fields are marked *. Do you have a question -or- need to contact an expert? They often think the white dots are a fungus, but it is in fact a bug. Holler if you have any other questions. Not only was the information great; but, as others have stated, your instructions on how & when to treat, as well as describing the issue(s) in layman terms, made it easy for us non-horticulturalists / non-botanists /non-arborists to understand. Mississippi State University Extension. In addition to the presence of these bumps there is often also an emergence of unsightly black sooty-looking mold which develops resembling black dust on the leaves and bark of the crape myrtle plant.These are the defining characteristics which make up crape myrtle ba… Cover the tree thoroughly with pesticide, especially when using oil. The eggs remain protected within the white colored ovisacs until the crawlers (immatures) hatch and disperse onto the branches. Up close, CMBS is white to gray and about 2 mm (0.08 inch, a bit longer than the thickness of a dime) long. It is my understanding that these white bugs are exclusive to the crype myrtle, but I wasn’t sure if the Bayer product would affect the roots of any nearby plants in the same bed. The scale is a sucking insect To kill the scale we recommend Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed Concentrate. This time of year the chemicals are more easily absorbed up the tree since this is the growing season. Sounds like you need to swap your crape myrtle spots. I hope to encourage people to enjoy their homes, indoors and out. The best time of year to treat is between May-July when the scale are most active. To date we’ve not been able to show any crape myrtle tree death as a result of a bark scale infestation. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite, I seem to just kill any plant given to me; even following written instructions. It is the job of natural enemies to clean up after and between insecticide applications. So glad you found this blog so helpful. Often times, the first sign of CMBS is the black sooty mold on the tree bark. I was just about to remodel my front flower bed when I discovered the white bark disease bugs on my crepe myrtle tree. Will my Crepe Myrtles always have bark scale? One cause is underwatering. Insect growth regulators as a crawler spray are useful in stopping the crepe myrtle bark scale's life cycle. I want to save the tree since it still has some flowers. Crape myrtles are a very hardy trees with lots of reserves, so it would take several seasons of bark scale for the tree to succumb to this pest. Thanks! Really just cleaning up the wasted sap. I’ve got about 30 CMs and almost all of them had the Bark Scale last year. Bark scale originates from China and was brought to the U.S. in 2010. We do have to spray a few times for it at our farm. Hi Parke, thank you for your question. I recommend waiting until you notice any scale to treat them. Hope this helps you but I do think its good to have Bayer on hand for once you notice any scale. April was so busy for us here at the farm. The crape myrtles here started blooming shortly after you posted this message. Or will that make the problems worst? Our work makes a difference, in the lives of Texans and on the economy. Do we know if it’s something it could have picked up from the nursery it was purchased from? Only one has them but I’d replace both to match. When I prune the ones I have.i just get more lower growth. Although heavy scale infestations are seldom fatal, the aesthetic impacts are significant. Just treat and monitor. Yes you can, and we recommend the Bayer product listed in the article. Crepe myrtle bark scale insects make their home on the plant's exfoliating white bark, where they conceal themselves beneath protective wax. Or is it something it has accumulated since I planted it last summer. Thanks! They are just enjoying the sap that is already out on the bark and are not doing any additional damage to the tree. This will remove many of the female scales and egg masses, making insecticide control more effective. You can also treat again in the Spring as needed. Have your crapes bloomed since? Spray the tree with a dormant oil – Apply dormant oil generously, using enough oil to reach cracks and crevices in the bark. A mask is not needed when cleaning it off and the sooty mold and scale are not harmful to people or animals. Scale is all over Texas now and even if it didn’t come from a nursery its a matter of time before yours got it. When first discovered in the United States, this insect was identified as the azalea bark scale (Eriococcus azalea); however, crape myrtle has never before been reported as a host plant for azalea bark scale. If so, what spray? I just heard that number at an educational seminar. 7). However, observations from McKinney, TX, suggest that the scale may be worse on pure L. fauriei and L. indica × L. fauriei hybrids. Thank you!! Crape myrtle aphids are tiny, only about a 16th of an inch long. -Denise. CMBS might be found anywhere on crepe myrtles bark, and often appears near pruning sites and branch crotches of more mature wood. -Denise. -Denise. September 15, 2018. Once the mated females produce their ovisacs (egg-containing capsules) and lay eggs, they die. So glad & thankful to have found this article! This honeydew turns in to a black sooty mold. No research has been conducted on whether any of the hundreds of crape myrtle cultivars have any natural resistance to this insect. Like other scale insects, the first-instar (first-stage) nymphs have legs and are mobile, thus the term crawlers. Another cause is too much shade. I gave them a good pruning. We were able to save the rest of the shrubs by doing this. Really your only organic option is to smash each scale bug individually with some sort of utensil. We know that there’s a fungus or disease that is common to it, that can kill them. First, after its leaves drop, apply dormant oil to the trunks and branches. Stephanie, my apologies for my slow reply. Both my trees are only 3 feet high. It has great & simple info on how to identify and treat scales on our crepe myrtles. It is one of the only scales known to infest crape myrtles. Several factors can cause Crape Myrtles to not bloom, or bloom far less than others around DFW. Can I treat other plants around, with this same treatment, that this has spread to from my Crape Myrtles? Horticultural oil has not yet been shown to be effective against this insect. On new growth and in heavy infestations, the scales may be distributed more uniformly on the branch (Figs. Crape myrtle bark scales may aggregate toward the undersides of young horizontal branches instead of the parts exposed to the sun (Fig. Then about a week ago these little white things started on the branches and have been frantically trying to find a remedy since I discovered it! It is one of the only scales known to infest crape myrtles. 3). So, do we do both? Before buying crape myrtles, inspect the nursery crop carefully for signs of CMBS infestations. Will the tree blossom again? I have the same response for you as Robin. DNA studies are under way to determine its true identity. I live in north Mississippi and purchased today the Bayer treatment. -Denise, You are so welcome Calby! -Denise. Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale is caused by an insect that researchers are working to learn more about. As nearby shade trees grow and mature then the crape myrtles are left hidden underneath and struggle to get enough sunlight. When drenching the soil with a systemic insecticide, allow several weeks for the product reach throughout the plant. Gray bark scale won’t kill crape myrtles, but it can be washed off if you don’t like the look. However, it may be beneficial to apply horticultural oil in the winter at dormant season rates to the bark and crotches of the plants where the scales shelter. These chemicals enter into the circulation of plants and kill the pest when they feed on the sap. Pickup all of the leafs on the ground as well and throw them away too. Up close, CMBS is white t… I live in Northern Virginia and just noticed (June) little white dots all over my beautiful 20 year old 18 foot Crepe Myrtle. Best of luck! I would say give them a try if you would like and then you can try the Bayer if all else fails. It’s easy to catch and crapes bounce right back. 4 through 6). Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale (or CMBS) is relatively easy to identify in heavy infestations, but can be difficult to notice in its early stages on Crepe Myrtles. This method is very effective. How do I treat for crape myrtle bark scale? The adult female lays eggs under the covering from May to September and then dies. It’s a small sap-feeding insect that lives on the bark of certain plants, especially crapemyrtle. By 2012 it had spread to Ardmore, OK, and Shreveport, LA. This product is readily available online and at most local home & garden stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. - Robbins, J., J. Hopkins, M. Merchant, and M. Gu. Adult females are felt-like white or gray encrustations that stick to crape myrtle parts ranging from small twigs to large trunks. Plants also become resistant to chemicals just like humans with antibiotics, so overuse is not recommended. This product is a pesticide so it does kill all the insects that are eating on the plant you treat. Thanks for all the info. The Chinese Photenia is actually a parent plant to the Red Tip Photenia. Agent Marcus Garner with the Madison County Extension Office said … We hate that the insecticides are the best method for this bug, but it’s the unfortunate case. We Texans sure do love our crape myrtles, unfortunately so does this fairly new pest to North Texas called bark scale. – Denise. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The small CMBS males are winged and will fly to find females and to mate. Nurseries will incur higher costs to control the scale and maintain clean plants. Treatment for the black sooty mold is not recommended and once the scale is terminated then the black sooty mold will disappear as well. I will get the Bayer to treat from beginning and prevent the scale. We of course wish that more organic options really worked, but sadly they do not seem to be effective enough. It took a while but they did put out new growth. You will oftentime see black sooty mold in addition to the white bark scale. A little insect called the “Crape Myrtle Bark Scale”, or CMBS, is turning out in mass numbers and when they feed on the crape myrtle sap they excrete a sticky substance called honeydew. Is the black soot and white scale harmful to pets and humans. This pest threatens to turn what has historically been a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape tree into an unsightly, high-maintenance landscape tree. 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 crapemyrtles in our area. Scale is just a part of life for crape owners now. 4 through 6). As they mature they will get fewer shoots off the trunks but the sprouts will still come up. When crushed, these scales exude pink “blood”-like liquid. This pest (Fig. You can literally wash scale off crape myrtle. Denis, thank you for your reply and taking the time to help Really appreciate it and reading over all the other comments. Black Residue on Crape Myrtle Trees. Hope this helps. Hi Kathy, so glad you found my blog. This will smother both adult and immature scales. Soil-applied neonicotinoids can suppress it significantly. Hi Pamela, I am so glad you found my blog helpful. Apply them to the root zone as a soil injection (Fig. Also be aware that the shell of the bark scale can remain on the bark for a extended amount of time as well. In its native range, this scale, tentatively identified as crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS, Eriococcus lagerstroemia), feeds on crape myrtles and pomegranates. One of my Crepe Myrtles (4′ high, raised from an Audubon sapling) had a heavy dose of white scale, accompanied by ants. Crape myrtles are prized for their beauty and relative freedom from pests in the United States. Thanks for writing in Richard. The scale is a sucking insect that feeds on the phloem (sap) of plants. I hope you have found this information helpful. Grayish-white patches on the bark near pruning wounds or in branch crotches hide colonies of the insects. This nonnative scale was first detected in the United States in 2004. Adult females are felt-like white or gray encrustations that stick to crape myrtle parts ranging from small twigs to large trunks. Any additional knowledge is much appreciated! Can I just spray the tree with insecticide? The bugs are still active right now. The scale sucks the sap from your branches and tree trunks and then the sugars and yeast in the sap attracts the mold. Hi Cindy, thanks for your comment. Since the initial discovery in 2004 by a landscape company in Richardson, TX, the insect has blemished many crape myrtles in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I do not recommend treating just in case right now because all of the pollinators are out. In January 2014, it was confirmed to be infesting trees in Little Rock, AR. Sometimes the shells take a while to fall off, but the bugs are dead. Scale is easy to treat now that you know what you have. You mention Bayer systemic protection first, then later say the “best time to SPRAY is…”. Identification •Light or recent infestations: Carefully examine new growth and small twigs. Crape myrtle bark scale is relatively easy to identify. However, the presence of the white adult scales on the bark and twigs, and the pink blood exuded when crushed, distinguishes this scale from crape myrtle aphids (Fig. We lost about 5 shrubs to that illness, shortly after planting them. Another question then, we planted many photinia shrubs in our backyard, along our fence. Crapemyrtle Bark Scale: A New Insect Pest, FSA7086. How do I get that look. Slowly over the last 13 years it has moved northward and is now a serious threat to Crepe Myrtles in Hampton Roads. Hi Audrey, Thanks for your question. Our pollinators are in severe decline. This can be a difficult pest to control and it may take m… 8). These crawlers emerge from under the “mother scale” and disperse within a day or two. Notice how beautiful the Crape Myrtles look around town after a nice rain passes through? To give you tree a boost also apply Dynamite Fertilizer and Superthrive. Crape myrtle bark scale has hit the state in a big way and heavy infestations can cause problems. My husband wanted to cut them down but I insisted we wait it out until the next growing season. Click for a hub of Extension resources related to the current COVID-19 situation. – Denise. Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale is a relatively new nonnative scale that was first detected in the U.S. in 2004. Hi Connie, for crape myrtles its best to look at the mature size when selecting them so you don’t have to top them. By: Mengmeng Gu, Mike Merchant, James Robbins, and John Hopkins. For the back some of the large crape myrtles are the Natchez, Muskogee and Tuscarora. Bayer Advanced lasts one year and it’s a good preventative. The tree sits at the end of my 20 foot long flower bed. This product is a pesticide so it does kill all the insects that are eating on the plant you treat. You can always just throw on a pair of gloves and go to town smashing all of the individual scale bugs. Some insect growth regulators (IGR) are recommended for control of other types of scales in woody ornamentals but have not yet been evaluated on CMBS. The scales also reproduce on the shrubs, with each female laying dozens of pink eggs. Although the insect is infesting crape myrtles only in the southeastern United States, its distribution in its native China ranges from Beijing (USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 6) to Guangzhou, Guangdong Province (Cold Hardiness Zone 10). You can try taking a soft bristle brush with water to remove the bark scale and the sooty mold. In another plastic bucket mix 1 pound of fresh hydrated lime in 1 gallon of water and let it stand for two hours. Will it come back and will it kill my trees? Thier is no cure and the infected plants must be destroyed and removed immeditely to hopefully stop the spread to others. Both you and the label says measure the trunk to see how much to use. Thanks for visiting the blog. I would not wait and I would go ahead and plant them. For mature adults, please apply Bayer Advanced. The best control was achieved between May and July by applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran (Greenlight Tree and Shrub Insect Control with Safari), imidacloprid (Merit or Bayer Advanced Garden Tree and Shrub Insect Control), and thiomethoxam (Meridian). – Denise, How long after I treat the CM W/the Bayer Tree & Shrub does it take to kill the Eriococcus lagerstroemiae. 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