The lobate lac scale insect, Paratachardina lobata (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Kerriidae), a species native to India and Sri Lanka, was found for the first time in Florida in 1999 and it appears to be widespread in the Bahamas. In Florida, it has already spread over an area of about 6400 km2. It has been reported on more than 150 species of woody plants. Most host plants that are native to southern Florida are also native to the Caribbean Region, implying that the pest threatens natural areas in the whole Region. These scale insects infest the woody portions of small branches, causing branch dieback. Severe infestations of some plants are lethal. The duration of development from egg to adult is under investigation. Two species of Encyrtidae (Hymenoptera), Metaphycus sp. and Ammonoencyrtus sp., both probably undescribed, were reared from lobate lac scales. Only a few specimens were reared from thousands of lobate lac scales held in emergence containers. Application of imidacloprid as a root drench to infested trees is effective in controlling the scale insect, but biological control is viewed as the only practical option in the long term to control this pest, especially in natural areas. Therefore, a program to obtain natural enemies of this scale insect from India has been initiated.


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