Systematic Strategies to Manage Crapemyrtle Bark Scale, An Emerging Exotic Pest
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Crapemyrtle is the most popular flowering landscape tree in the U.S., with a 2014 wholesale value of $66M. Crapemyrtle bark scale (CMBS), a new emerging pest from Asia, is severely impacting this industry, and poses a unique risk to other major crops including soybean, apple, and pomegranate. Its newly-reported infestation on the native American beautyberry may pose a threat to the native plant community and ecosystem. With a multi-state, transdisciplinary and international collaboration, and the overall goal to manage CMBS, our proposal contributes to the long-term profitability and sustainability of crapemyrtle production and landscape uses, and help protect against future risks to other commodities from this pest.Built upon three years of CMBS research and outreach with tremendous stakeholder support, this SCRI project will accomplish these: 1. Evaluate non-chemical (biological, cultural and mechanical) IPMs; 2. Evaluate chemical efficacy and potential impact on beneficial insects and pollinators, based on understanding of CMBS biology; 3. Evaluate alternative hosts and feeding preference for future plant selection and development; 4. Improve our understanding of consumer and industry preferences and barriers to crapemyrtle sales and consumers' willingness to pay due to CMBS; and 5. Develop 2-way information pipeline (CMBS monitoring network through training volunteers and commercial/professional stakeholders; a BMP training curriculum; and an outreach network). Our proposal addresses three legislatively mandated focus areas: "efforts to identify and address threats from pests and diseases, including threats to specialty crop pollinators", "research in plant genetics to improve crop characteristics, such as pest management", and "efforts to improve production efficiency, productivity, and profitability over the long term".