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OSCEOLA, Ark. – Each year our office receives several calls from homeowners who are
seeing black mold (Figure 1), or “white fuzzy growth” on their Crape Myrtle plants.
Most often the cause of these symptoms is an insect called Crape Myrtle Bark Scale
(CMBS). Adult females appear as white or gray felt-like encrustations on the trunk
and branches, and can look like a ‘fuzzy’ growth on the plant (Figure 2.). Many times
CMBS will appear near pruning wounds or in branch crotches on older wood.
The crape myrtle bark scale insects feed on the plant’s sap. If the number of insects
get large enough, they can cause branch and twig die back. One reason CMBS can develop
into large numbers is that they have few natural predators, and they can multiply
As they feed, the insect exude a sugary liquid called honeydew. The honeydew promotes
the growth of black sooty mold. This will cause the leaves and branches of the Crape
Myrtle plant to have a dark to black appearance. It is the black sooty mold that many
homeowner first notice on Crape Myrtle plants infested with Crape Myrtle Bark Scale.
Application of systemic insecticides has been shown to provide adequate control of
this pest. The best option is to apply insecticide as a soil drench around the root
zone after the leaves are out on the plants. Imidacloprid (Merit® or Bayer Advanced™
GardenTree and Shrub Insect Control), thiomethoxam (Meridian®) and dinotefuran (Greenlight
Tree and Shrub Insect Control with Safari) have shown best control when applied between
May and July.
When drenching the soil with a systemic insecticide, allow several weeks for the product
to be distributed throughout the plant. The pesticide will be absorbed by the roots
and translocated to the areas of the plant where the scale feed. This treatment will
last all season in most cased. Be sure to read the product label and apply the correct
Most labels will call for measuring the circumference of the plant stems, and using
the total circumference of all stems for the dose calculations. Measure the stems
at about 3 ft height. If the shrub has 6 stems, each with a 5 inch circumference,
the total circumference is 30 inches. If the label calls for 1 ounce of insecticide
per inch of circumference, use 30 oz total insecticide for your drench. Be sure to
wear protective equipment as you mix and apply.
The Extension Service has published a fact sheet for additional details available
at the following web address, www.uaex.uada.edu/publications/pdf/fsa-7086.pdf, or at the County Extension Office. Additionally, we have a webpage with more information on crape myrtle bark scale.
For more information, contact the Mississippi County Extension office at 870-563-0236
or email me at email@example.com
By Ray Benson County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Ray Benson County Extension Agent - AgricultureU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service3137 West Keiser Avenue Osceola AR 72370 (870) 563-0236 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
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