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.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.