Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
Dr. Mike Merchant, Professor and Extension Urban Entomologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas, is spearheading the detection and education work on a new insect pest that is spreading to crape myrtle trees throughout Texas.
This insect was first detected in 2004 in Dallas, but it wasn’t until last year that this scale was positively identified as an exotic scale, Eriococcus lagerstroemiae. In 2014, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension published an article about this scale. And, most recently, they have worked with the Southern IPM Center to create an information clearinghouse and citizen science database for this pest at http://www.eddmaps.org/cmbs/.
Dr. Merchant is asking folks in Texas who think they have encountered this pest to report it. The Early Detection and Distribution Mapping (EDDMAPS) site makes this process fairly simple. A person can register on the site and click on the REPORT SIGHTINGS tab and report a new location for this pest. A report is verified by pictures, so folks are encouraged to take a digital picture of the suspect infested tree. The site allows the inputter to pinpoint down to the precise block or backyard where the infested tree is located.
Control information for this pest is available both on A&M AgriLife Extensions’ Texas fact sheet and on their EDDMAPS site. They are also planning some research this summer to screen new treatments for this pest that do not involve neonicotinoid insecticides.
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