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Green lacewing Chrysoperla rufilabris (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) is a potential biological agent for crapemyrtle bark scale (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae) pest management

Green lacewing Chrysoperla rufilabris (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) is a potential biological agent for crapemyrtle bark scale (Hemiptera: Eriococcidae) pest management

Crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS; Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae), an invasive sap-sucking hemipteran, has spread across 16 U.S. states. Infestation of CMBS negatively impacts the flowering and reduces the aesthetic quality of crapemyrtles. The widespread use of soil-applied neonicotinoid insecticides to suppress the CMBS infestation may be hazardous to pollinators and other beneficial insects. Natural enemies of CMBS are important agents for developing integrated environmentally friendly management strategies. This study evaluated the performance of larval green lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris) as a biocontrol agent of CMBS. Predatory behavior of the larval C. rufilabris upon CMBS was documented under a stereomicroscope using infested crapemyrtle samples collected from different locations in College Station, TX (Figure 1). Figure 1. Observations of Chrysoperla rufilabris were reported at different ...
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‘A Novel EPG-Based Diagnostic Tool for Crapemyrtle Bark Scale Host Evaluation’- Our CMBS research work made it to the cover of Insects journal

‘A Novel EPG-Based Diagnostic Tool for Crapemyrtle Bark Scale Host Evaluation’- Our CMBS research work made it to the cover of Insects journal

The latest CMBS research work, led by Dr. Bin Wu, has made it to the cover of Insects journal! This study established a novel real-time diagnostic tool for quick crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS) host evaluation. Canonical host range confirmation of invasive hemipterans relies on the evaluation of plant susceptibility through greenhouse or field trials, which are inefficient and time-consuming. The researchers developed an alternative technology to complement conventional host confirmation methods. Using electrical penetration graph (EPG)-based technology, the research team monitored the CMBS invisible stylet-tip position when the insect was feeding on different plant tissues. The occurrences of stylet-tip in the phloem phase and xylem phase offered conclusive evidence for host plant evaluation. Moreover, CMBS typical feeding behaviors measured by ...
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Dr. Mengmeng Gu New Department Head of Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University

Dr. Mengmeng Gu New Department Head of Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University

Effective on July 1, 2022, the project lead of the crapemyrtle bark scale team, Dr. Mengmeng Gu, has started her new role as the department head of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University. Dr. Gu will bring her experience in both horticulture and landscape design to her new leadership role, with a focus on sustainability and a career-long commitment to teaching, research, and outreach, the three pillars of the land-grant mission. For more information, please visit: https://agsci.source.colostate.edu/ornamental-horticulturalist-and-extension-specialist-tapped-as-next-department-of-horticulture-and-landscape-architecture-head/ Congratulations, Dr. Gu! ...
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Latest report confirmed crapemyrtle bark scale infestation in Pennsylvania – the most northern occurrence in the United States

Latest report confirmed crapemyrtle bark scale infestation in Pennsylvania – the most northern occurrence in the United States

Researchers from Penn State University and USDA, Dr. Michael J. Skvarla and Dr. Scott A. Schneider, recently published a report confirming a new infestation of crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS) in Pennsylvania. This report furthered the CMBS distribution to the northeastern part of the United States, bringing the total number of states with CMBS infestations to 18, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington (EDDMapS, 2022) and Pennsylvania.According to the report, CMBS was found on a mature crapemyrtle tree in Pennsylvania, Chester County, Pennsbury Township (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 6b), one of the warmest regions of Pennsylvania. The insect samples were collected and identified as CMBS ...
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Recording available for FEBRUARY 28 - Crapemyrtle bark scale Q&A session

Recording available for FEBRUARY 28 – Crapemyrtle bark scale Q&A session

Our Crapemyrtle Bark Scale Team has successfully conducted a Q&A session on February 28, 2022 in response to recent CMBS reports. Recording of the Q&A session is available here! The team appreciates Dr. Emily Mueller and Dr. Kasey Yturralde for helping to organize this Q&A session and sending us the questions. Below is the list of timestamps and related questions available in the video. 0:15 Introduction of the team (Dr. Mengmeng Gu, Dr. Erfan Vafaie, Laura Miller, Dr. Yvette Zhang, Dr. Yan Chen, Dr. David Held, and Dr. Hongmin Qin) 5:08 Q1. What are the effects of CMBS? 12:22 Q2. How far do they move? 27:45 Q3: How close do we need to keep trees spaced apart? For example, if ...
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Impacts of Crapemyrtle Bark Scale on Consumers and the Horticulture Industry

Impacts of Crapemyrtle Bark Scale on Consumers and the Horticulture Industry

A new peer-review manuscript (authored by Dr. Pulkit Marwah, Dr. Yu Yvette Zhang, and Dr. Mengmeng Gu) on the impacts of the crapemyrtle bark scale on consumers and the horticulture industry is now available online. Here is the abstract! Abstract: In this study, we conducted a nationwide online survey, including discrete choice scenarios, to understand consumers’ purchasing behavior for flowering trees and shrubs for home landscapes in the US. In particular, we studied crapemyrtle, which is the most popular summer flowering tree in the US. This research evaluates the change in consumer willingness to pay for crapemyrtle plants due to pest infestation damage. Our study showed that the consumer willingness to pay (WTP) for crapemyrtles will decrease, due to the ...
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Managing Crapemyrtle Bark Scale – are we winning the fight?

Managing Crapemyrtle Bark Scale – are we winning the fight?

Crapemyrtles are one of the most popular trees in the Southeast. They required minimum care before the recent introduction of a serious scale insect, the crapemyrtle bark scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae, let’s called it CMBS). The first sight of an infestation is often the black sooty mold caused by the colonization of several fungi on the honeydew exudes by the scale (Figure 1). This can be misleading because a more common and easy to control pest, aphids, also cause sooty mold. However, aphids can only be found on leaves and tender growth while the CMBS is found on the bark tissue of mature branches. Colonies of white or gray felt-like bumps on branches that bleed pink ‘blood’ when crashed can confirm an ...
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Discovery and confirmation of New Crapemyrtle Bark Scale Hosts (Spiraea and Callicarpa) through DNA Barcoding

Discovery and confirmation of New Crapemyrtle Bark Scale Hosts (Spiraea and Callicarpa) through DNA Barcoding

Crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS; Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae Kuwana), a new emerging sap-sucking pest from East Asia, poses a unique risk to the green industry. The polyphagous feeding habit of Crapemyrtle bark scale has allowed it to attack a wide range of plant species, including soybean, apple, and pomegranate. The news of this insect spreading beyond its primary host, crapemyrtle, is worrisome to the industry and the scientific community, as the implication of a fast-spreading invasive insect to the ecosystem is enormous. Recently, reports of naturally occurring CMBS infestations on alternative hosts. For instance, American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana, Fig. 1A) and Hypericum kalmianum L. (St. Johnswort), both native species in the United States, were found to be infested with CMBS in the ...
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Impacts of COVID-19 on the Green Industry

Impacts of COVID-19 on the Green Industry

Our CMBS team has published a new study, led by Dr. Pulkit Marwah, Dr. Yu Yvette Zhang, and Dr. Mengmeng Gu on the impacts of COVID-19 on the Green Industry. Here is the abstract! Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many horticultural businesses to alter the way they operate. This includes, but may not be limited to, changing hours of operation, working with limited staff, and restricting customer access indoors. This could result in several challenges for businesses. In this study, we evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 on the green industry in the U.S. and identify the challenges for businesses. Based on our research findings, the major challenges faced by businesses were not having enough employees and inventory to keep up ...
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Investigating Producers’ Preferences for Crapemyrtle and Their Perceptions Regarding Crapemyrtle Bark Scale

Investigating Producers’ Preferences for Crapemyrtle and Their Perceptions Regarding Crapemyrtle Bark Scale

Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.) is the most popular summer flowering tree in the U.S. Its total value sold has almost doubled since 1998. Consumers prize crapemyrtles for their beauty and being relatively pest free. However, current crapemyrtle production and use might be affected by crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS; Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae), which has been confirmed in at least 14 U.S. states after its first sighting in Texas in 2004. In this study, we conducted interviews of business representatives. Our survey results indicate that producers anticipate a significant decrease in the value of crapemyrtle if infested with CMBS, and suggest industry demand for CMBS control (Fig 1). An important finding of our research is that a majority of businesses support science-based CMBS control research (Fig ...
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