crepe myrtle - Knowledgebase Question

Murrells Inlet, So
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Question by pmash
March 15, 2010
I seee no pests on the tree(4 yrs. old),but flower pods are empty & flowering is decreased. thank-you

Answer from NGA
March 15, 2010
Although it's unusual, what you describe sounds like damage from the bud worm. These little pests are the larvae of flying insects. The female lays her egg within the developing flower bud. The egg hatches and the larvae feeds on the petals of the flower, then makes a hole and exits the bud. Look carefully at the affected buds for a pinhole. Or, collect some of the unopened buds and place them in a plastic baggie. Set the baggie in the sunshine. Any worms inside the buds will exit the buds to escape the heat. If you find budworms, you may be able to control them with a timely pruning. You can thwart this year's population by pruning your crape myrtle just as the flower buds are forming. Remove all of the flower buds, rake them up and bag them up. Your crape myrtle will respond by sending up new growth which will flower later in the summer. At that time the adults will have moved on and your flowers should open without damage.

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