The problem usually goes unnoticed until plants begin turning black with a fungus called sooty mold when it begins to grow on insect droppings. They suck sap from the tree and then drip sticky honeydew on leaves and branches on which sooty mold grows. Crape Myrtle Aphids. A stressed tree is more susceptible to damage by insects and disease. Crepe myrtle aphids reproduce rapidly. The crapemyrtle bark scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae) is a recently introduced pest from Asia that initially infested crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia spp.) One of the common pests that plague these large shrubs is spider mites . If your crepe myrtle’s leaf edges look tattered or you notice similar damage, your tree may have pests. Crepe myrtle scale has no natural enemies here yet, so this is the only effective control. A few insects on a plant usually do not cause damage to the plant. Controlling them requires a two-step approach each year. This makes it easy for them to quickly grow into a large population that will damage your tree. How to Kill Crepe Myrtle. Primary pests in Florida are powdery mildew and the crapemyrtle aphid with its associated sooty mold. The major insect pests of crape myrtles in Texas are crape myrtle aphids, Japanese beetles, and primrose flea beetles. All of these are safe, natural products available at home and garden centers. Powdery mildew is caused by the fungus Erysiphe lagerstroemiae. in Texas during 2004.Since then, it has spread rapidly through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia. Without the insects and their honeydew, sooty mold will gradually wash away. Crapemyrtle can be one of the most pest-free landscape plants with proper cultivar selection and with proper siting. Crape myrtle bark scale is an introduced insect pest from Asia, and it has a great affinity for crape myrtle trees. “The white dots are likely insects called crapemyrtle bark scales. Pests. Crapemyrtle bark scales build shells over themselves so normal insecticides won’t kill them. The crepe myrtle will absorb the insecticide and all scales feeding on it will die. Spray your crepe myrtle according to label directions with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, neem oil, or Natria Multi-Insect Control. As spring foliage decorates plant limbs, crape myrtle aphids flock to your shrubs and trees. Powdery Mildew. As you can see in the photo above, the tell-tale signs of Aphid damage are yellow spots, curling leaves and tiny little whitish, tan, beige, or dark-colored insects on the backs of the leaves. Found throughout May through September, these tiny insects do damage by feeding on the soft tissues and plant sap of Crepe Myrtle leaves. They also come in many sizes, so there is a plant for every purpose around the garden, from specimen tree to low shrub or container plant. 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