Recap of February First Friday with Florida First Detector
In February, we talked about Invasive Scale Insects and covered identification of species commonly found in Florida and a few that were recently detected in Florida. Scale insects can be challenging to identify. Closely related species may require slide mounting for proper identification. When in doubt, submit samples for identification!
Crapemyrtle bark scale, Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae, is a type of felt scale (Family: Eriococcidae). The species is native to Asia and was detected in the US in Texas in 2004. Crapemyrtle bark scale was first found in Florida in 2021 in the panhandle and we are still learning about where it has spread in the state. So far, it has only been found feeding on crapemyrtles in the US which is a common landscape plant. Crapemyrtle bark scale can cause branch dieback, plant stunting, reduced flowering and some unsightly sooty mold. There are several other species of felt scale found in Florida, such as the azalea bark scale Acanthococcus azalea. However, the crapemyrtle bark scale is the only species that has been found on crapemyrtle.
Phantasma scale, Fiorinia phantasma, is another species that was recently found in FL. In 2018 it was first found in Miami-Dade and it has since spread to additional counties in the state. Phantasma scale is an armored scale (Diaspididae). It is a pest of palm trees and several other ornamental plants. High levels of infestation can lead to leaf chlorosis and early drop, plant stunting and even death. Another related species, Snout Scale (Fiorinia proboscidaria) was found in Florida in 2013. This species is a pest of ornamental plants but also is a pest of citrus. Tea scale (Fiorinia theae) and Fiorinia scale (Fiorinia fioriniae) are two other species in this genus that have been introduced to Florida and cause problems in ornamental plants. Telling the difference between these species can be challenging and slide mounting is critical for identification.
Resources on Scale Insects and Identification
- UF EDIS Guide to Scale Insect Identification
- UF EDIS Managing Scale Insects on Ornamental Plants
- Snout Scale Pest Alert
- Phantasma Scale Pest Alert
- Crape Myrtle Bark Scale Pest Alert
- Ask IFAS Resources on Landscape Scale Pests
- Scale Insect ID Tools (Website currently under construction and may be unavailable)
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Contact Dr. Morgan Pinkerton, firstname.lastname@example.org
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