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Crape myrtle insect pests

Crape myrtles abound in southeastern Virginia and offer a colorful array of flowers in shades of pink, watermelon, red, lavender, purple, and white during the hot, dusty days of high summer into early fall. The trees and shrubs make handsome additions along roadways, in parks, and next to businesses and homes. The hardy Asian natives with their lush foliage and panicles of colorful flowers are generally trouble-free, although a few insect pests and fungal diseases may cause problems.

Crape myrtle aphids are a major insect pest of the trees and shrubs, and the only aphid species that feeds on crape myrtles. Colonies of tiny, yellowish-green crape myrtle aphids attach to the undersides of leaves to suck the sap, which has a high sugar content. The aphids excrete the sweet substance known as honeydew. Sooty mold, a fungus, will grow in the honeydew, causing grayish discoloration of leaves and stems. The aphids inject their saliva into the leaves, which causes yellowing and distortion ...

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