Question: I see white scales along the stems of my crape myrtles. They are causing a sticky substance to coat the leaves and stems, then black mold grows on them. What can I do?
Answer: That is a type of scale insect that was first reported in the DFW area in 2005. It seems to be worse during cool, wet springs and early summers. A black lady bug with two orange spots on its wings is predatory on the scales, and very effectively so. If you observe the lady bugs or their nymphs on the crape myrtle stems, give them a week or two to clean up the populations. If you do not see the ladybugs, apply a systemic insecticide to control the scales.