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Lychee tree scale pest found in Florida

Lychee tree owners should look out for a new scale pest in Florida. The lychee leei scale (Thysanofiorinia leei) feeds on the underside of leaves and can cause yellow spots (chlorosis) on the surface of the leaf.  Scale insects often do not look like commonly encountered insects like grasshoppers or lady beetles. Adult female lychee leei scales can look like a tiny, small, tan scabs on the bottom of a leaf. The insects may also be surrounded by a waxy covering that makes them appear fluffy and white.

Adult female lychee leei scale insects on underside of leaf. Photo credit: Webb and Ahmed FDACS-DPI.

In Florida, the lychee leei scale has been detected on lychee tress in only a few counties in southern Florida. Lychee leei scales do not move very quickly and conceal themselves under leaves. As a result, infestations may go unnoticed until there are many scale insects.

The economic impact lychee leei scales could have in Florida is currently unknown. If you suspect lychee leei scales are infesting your trees in Florida, contact the DPI helpline at: DPIHelpline@FreshFromFlorida.com or 1-888-397-1517. Further information can be found from the FDACS-DPI pest alert.

Leaf infested with lychee leei scale insects. Arrow pointing to scales surrounded by white waxy coating. Photo credit: Webb and Ahmed FDACS-DPI.