Crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS; Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae) is an exotic pest species that is causing aesthetic and economic damages to crapemyrtles and posing potential threats to other horticultural crops. Although previous studies reported the infestation of CMBS on at least 13 alternative hosts within families of Buxaceae, Cannabaceae, Combretaceae, Ebenaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Lythraceae, Moraceae, Oleaceae, Phyllanthaceae, and Rosaceae in Asia, its potential threats to other documented alternative hosts remain elusive and yet to be confirmed in the United States.
Feeding preference trials of CMBS were conducted on forty-nine plant species and cultivars in 2016 and 2019. The infestations of CMBS were confirmed on Malus domestica (apple), Chaenomeles speciosa (flowering quince), Diospyros rhombifolia (diamond-leaf persimmon), Heimia salicifolia (sinicuichi), Lagerstroemia ‘Spiced Plum’ (crapemyrtle), M. angustifolia (southern crabapple), and twelve out of thirty-five pomegranate cultivars. However, the levels of CMBS infestation on these test plant hosts in this study is very low compared to Lagerstroemia and may not cause significant damage.
No sign of CMBS infestation was observed on Rubus ‘Arapaho’ (blackberry), R. ‘Navaho’ (raspberry), R. idaeus ‘Dorman Red’ (raspberry), R. fruticosus (blackberry), B. microphylla var. koreana × B. sempervirens (boxwood), B. harlandii (harland boxwood), or D. virginiana (common persimmon)in 2019. More details are available in the recently published article titled ’Feeding Preference of Crapemyrtle Bark Scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae) on Different Species’ (https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/11/7/399).
The feeding preference and host range of CMBS found are crucial in the prediction and prevention of the expansion of CMBS distribution in the United States. Further CMBS feeding trials with more plant species and various experimental conditions are currently undergoing in 2020.