Crape myrtle scale

Eriococcus lagerstroemiae, also known as crape myrtle scale, is a small insect that infests crape myrtle trees. It was first seen in Dallas, Texas in 2004 and was thought to be brought in through illegal trade. Since its introduction, it has spread to Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, California, and Arkansas. Of these states, only Arkansas has successfully eliminated the insect.

The insect is very easy to identify as it is the only scale to infect crape myrtles. Males have wings and are capable of flight, while the females are flightless and remain encased in a thick felted covering on the tree. Prolonged exposure on a host can led to increased stress and decline as well as growth of black sooty mold. Unfortunately, there is no standard method of treatment; however, warm water mixed with dish soap and high pressure water has been shown to remove the scale from the host. Lady beetles have also been shown to help curb and control an infecting population and can often be seen eating female casings.

A crape myrtle trunk covered in scale.

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