There is a new insect pest that is spreading to crape myrtle trees throughout Texas. This insect was first detected in 2004 here 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 information about this scale http://www.agrilifebookstore.org/Crape-Myrtle-Bark-Scale-p/eht-049.htm and most recently, AgriLife employees have worked with the Southern Region IPM Center to create an information clearinghouse and citizen science database for this pest. http://www.eddmaps.org/cmbs/
Here’s where we especially need your help. We are asking people 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 this the REPORT SIGHTINGS tab and report a new location for this pest. A report is verified by pictures, so we encourage folks 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. It’s actually kind of fun.
We know that the scale is already present in Houston and College Station; but we have very few reports from east and Central Texas sites.
BTW, control information for this pest is available both on our Texas fact sheet and on the EDDMAPS site. AgriLife employees are also planning research this summer to screen new treatments for this pest that do not involve neonicotinoid insecticides.