Bark Scale

bark scale images provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension photo by Dr. Mengmeng GuBark scale is a tiny invasive insect that was introduced from Asia. This insect is known for attacking the ornamental crape myrtle tree. A bark tree infestation appears as a black line of sooty splotches on the bark of an affected tree.

Do Bark Scale Infest Structures in East Texas?

No, bark scale does not infest structures. This insect is an agricultural pest and is mostly known for attacking crape myrtle trees. Bark scale may also pose a risk to soybean, apple, and pomegranate plants/trees.

What Does Bark Scale Eat?

Bark scale feeds on a plant’s vascular system. They suck out plant sap from stems, branches, flower stems, and leaves. Having these insects feeding on a plant can affect its growth or prevent its flowers or fruits (pomegranate) from forming.

Is Bark Scale Dangerous?

Bark scale is considered to be a danger to the crape myrtle tree. The crape myrtle is the most popular flowing shrub in the United States and brings in millions of dollars in revenue each year. The heavy presence of these invasive bugs on this shrub is greatly impacting its sale and negatively impacting its industry. Bark scale produces honeydew a sugary substance that causes black sooty mold on trunks and branches, damaging the asthenic appeal of the infested shrub, crop, or tree. Due to the large impact that the bark scale has industry wide, a $3.3 million grant will help fund the study "Systematic Strategies to Manage Crapemyrtle Bark Scale" which will help provide science-based solutions and new technology for the special crop industry. 

Is Treatment Available?

Erfan Vafaie, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist, points out signs of last year’s crape myrtle bark scale infestation. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Adam Russell)Bark scale is an extremely invasive insect that is difficult to control; but the good news is that while treatment options are limited, there are effective treatments available. Currently, there are only 2 systemic insecticide products that are thought to be effective in controlling bark scale; because bark scale is having such a negative impact on the shrub industry, research is currently being done to see if other control methods (biological, cultural and mechanical) will also be effective.

Can I Get Rid of a Bark Scale Infestation?

Trying to eliminate these insects on your own with DIY products can be difficult and may have little or no results if the proper products or applications are not used. DIY treatments may not be effective and can allow the infestation to continue. Both the diagnosis and the treatment of a bark scale infestation needs to be completed by an experienced professional. The faster professional treatment is sought the more likely the chosen treatment will be effective; also there are many variables that need to be met by a professional to ensure the product will work and not cause more harm than good. If you suspect a bark scale infestation on your property, contact a professional like Innovative Pest Control immediately to accurately identify the infestation and provide professional treatment.  

How Do We Treat Bark Scale?

At Innovative Pest Control, we understand that timing is everything when it comes to treating bark scale. The best time to treat in East Texas is in early spring *March/April) when this pest is most active and most likely to encounter the treatment products. In addition, our highly trained professionals have a complete understanding of the products we use and timing when they are most effective, helping protect non-targeting organisms like bees and other nectar-feeding insects. Our treatment procedure for bark scale has three different levels depending on the severity of the infestation. A severe infestation requires a Basial trunk treatment with a monthly follow-up treatment. Moderate infestations should be treated topically with two different types of systemics and a topical contact product. Low or preventative treatment includes quarterly service to apply a systemic product to the tree to keep it protected all year. Benefits to our well-designed, industry-leading bark scale treatment procedure include:
 
  • Bark scale treatment can be completed as an annual program allowing for early treatment and the best protection possible against these damaging insects.
  • To make the treatment procedure as easy as possible, treatments can be automatically scheduled.
  • Cost is specific to your property and is based on the number and size of the trees on your property.
  • This preventative service stops the bark scale before they have a chance to cause damage - saving you time, money, and energy in the long-run.
 
To learn more about our preventative bark scale treatments, contact Innovative Pest Control today and speak with one of our well-informed bark scale experts. You can also check out the AgriLife TODAY to keep up on the latest bark scale news. 

 

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