Living With Lobate Lac Scale

The Lobate Lac Scale, Paratachardina pseudolobata, is an invasive species that has been a pest in Florida since 1999. It has recently spread to Hawaii on the island of Oahu where it is responsible for demise of valuable trees (See Video). An 80 year old Banyan tree, which is near the famous “Hitachi Tree” was recently cut down as a result of the scale damage. The extent of its effects on native shrubs and trees remains to be determined.

Lobate Lac Scale
Photo: F.W. Howard, University of Florida, Bugwood.org

The scale insect has long mouthparts that it inserts into the sap (phloem) of the plant. This fluid is rich in sugar and low in other nutrients. A scale infestation secretes copious amounts of honeydew, an ideal substrate for the growth of molds. Under heavy infestations, plant leaves are covered with sooty mold that leads to the demise of the tree.

Officials are monitoring the situation and determined to slow the spread of the pest or eradicate it if possible. Biological controls such as parasitic wasps might be a solution to this new invasive pest of Hawaii.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Invasive Species, News, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Living With Lobate Lac Scale

  1. Vasili Rizos says:

    This is a very interesting piece. How did the pest make its way to Florida? Is it from a different area or did it originate in Florida? Also, How would the parasitic wasp stop the Lobate Lac Scale? Just a few thoughts on my mind

  2. Ronnie Tran says:

    Yeah, invasive species are pretty annoying. We have an invasive species problem on our campus as well, a beetle that has taken a liking to all our Ash trees…

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