Pest Alerts - Lobate Lac Scale, Paratachardina Pseudolobata

Pest Alert

Lobate lac scale, Paratachardina pseudolobata Kondo & Gullan (Hemiptera: Kerriidae)

Avas B. Hamon, Taxonomic Entomologist (retired)

Greg Hodges,, Taxonomic Entomologist, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry

INTRODUCTION: The lobate lac scale, Paratachardina pseudolobata Kondo & Gullan, was first collected in the USA, in Florida, on August 25, 1999. The host plant, Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, was destroyed by the owner. On March 16, 2000, an infestation was found in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Several additional locations and hosts have been found since then.

Paratachardina pseudolobata has now established in Florida and is now considered common in the south Florida landscape.

The resinous secretions of this scale insect family (Kerriidae) produce a very important product known as lac or shellac, which forms the basis of varnishes. In India, the related genus Tachardia is used to produce the commercial product shellac.

The lac scale insect on host stems of cocoplum
 The lac scale insect on host stems of cocoplum.
Adult and nymph resinous case of Paratachardina pseudolobata
 Adult and nymph resinous
 case of Paratachardina pseudolobata.
Typical resinous cases of Paratachardina pseudolobata
 Typical resinous cases of Paratachardina pseudolobata.
Large scales showing the hole through which honeydew is ejected
 Large scales showing the hole through which honeydew is ejected and the "fat bow tie" appearance.

DESCRIPTION: The resinous scale covering is light to dark reddish brown. Old individuals will frequently appear black because of the sooty molds. The shape is globose with four lobes, and young individuals generally appear more lobed than mature adults. The case size is about 1.5 mm long, and 1.0 mm wide, but individuals in close proximity will frequently coalesce forming masses of several individuals. Young individuals often appear like a "fat bow tie." The resinous case conforms approximately to the shape of the insect inside. Exactly how the insect grows larger within such a rigid case is not understood entirely.

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: The lobate lac scale has not been a major pest in nurseries. It is now considered as a common landscape pest in south Florida. For control information, please go to the following website: 

If found send samples to: FDACS-DPI, Entomology Section, P.O. Box 147100, Gainesville, FL 32614-7100 or contact Dr. Greg Hodges at (352) 395-4661.

HOSTS and DISTRIBUTION: The first collection in Florida was on Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (hibiscus) in Broward County, and the second collection was on Chrysobalanus icaco (cocoplum) in Miami-Dade County. Since then it has been collected on more than 190 woody hosts in Florida. Florida distribution: Broward, Collier, Dade, Hendry, Indian River, Lee, Martin, Monroe, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. The world distribution includes Sri Lanka, India, and the Bahamas.

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