Crape Myrtle Bark Scale


The Jackson Metro-Area has been infested with a new pest that is creating “black” crape myrtles.

This pest can be found all around Jackson, Ridgeland, Madison, Clinton, Pearl, Flowood, and Brandon.

sooty mold on crape myrtle

What is causing my Crape Myrtle to turn black?

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. This honeydew turns in to a black sooty mold. This black sooty mold covers tree trunks, underlying bushes, rooftops, cars, and everything else that is located under or downwind of the honeydew droppings. This blackness will not kill “healthy” crape myrtles but will obviously greatly diminish their aesthetic value as well as reduce their blooming.

crape myrtle bark scale upclose
Adult female scales, off-white 0.1 inch long

Weed Warriors offers the lowest rate around for Crape Myrtle treatments

Our pricing is very comparable, if not cheaper than DIY, and that’s the way we like it!

Preventative Treatment (April – June): 25$ per tree

Infested/Preventative Combo Treatment (July-September): 40$ per tree

Infested Treatment (September-November): 25$ per tree

The only exceptions would be having really big crape myrtles (over 40″ dbh) and/or you have ONLY ONE crape myrtle, in which case there is a 40$ minimum charge for treating just one tree.

crape myrtle flower up-close
Photo courtesy of Ellen Chan

What time of the year are these treatments?

Crape Myrtles can be treated for CMBS from April through November, however, the ideal treatment window is in April thru June BEFORE the little guys start turning everything black. Once things start turning black (around July) different application methods are needed to stop and prevent further blackness from occurring. Oil treatments can be applied to kill existing CMBS (scales) from July all the way through November, although this usually occurs in September and October.  

Weed Warriors can help you take care of this problem

When you hire us you won’t have to worry about what product to buy, how much to use, when to use it, and how to apply it correctly and safely. We are licensed, bonded, and insured through the Mississippi Department of Agriculture for Lawn and Horticultural Pest Control.

Weed Warriors uses state-of-the-art treatment methods

CMBS is new to our area, so the long-term outlook is uncertain. Experiments in 2018 by Mississippi State University, as well as experiments and treatments that we performed in 2018, confirmed that you can have good success with preventing this insect from causing any damage with just one preventative treatment per year.  Treatments will be needed year after year if our area mimics what has been happening in other areas of the Southeastern U.S. 

crape myrtle at sunset
Photo courtesy of Davies Designs

What to do to PREPARE for Weed Warriors’ Treatment

In the months of April through September you need to ensure that your crape myrtles are getting plenty of water so that the roots will adequately suck up the solution that we apply to the ground. This is best done before AND after our treatment, but it is ONLY REQUIRED “AFTER” our treatment. A slow over night drip is the easiest method, but there is more than just one way to water trees.

What to do if black sooty mold is already present

If your trees already have the black sooty mold on them please know that the blackness will fade away with time (assuming that you get rid of these insects that are causing it) and can be hastened away with gentle hand-scrubbing. Fungicides, soaps, and oils have been found to separately aid in removing the black-sooty-mold as well. Lastly, crape myrtles in Jackson, MS tend to shed alot of their bark around July 4th each year and so that will also help reduce the blackness.

crape myrtle bark scale up-close leaves

Call TODAY to get your Crape Myrtles and surrounding areas protected! 601-955-2700

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