Lobate lac scale’s scientific name is Paratachardina pseudolobate and was first discovered in Davie, Florida on a hibiscus in August of 1999. The discovery was made by personnel of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry (DPI).
The paratachardina lobate is considered native to Southern Asia and was previously known as foreign on Australia’s Christmas Island. In 2007 it was determined that the lobate lac scale occurring in Florida, Bahamas and Christmas Island is a new species. With a great effort of locating and destroying infested host plants by the DPI, by 2002 the lobate lac scale was found from southern Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County. By 2008 it was in virtually all counties in southern Florida.
Mature females are about 1.5 to 2 mm long and about the same in width. The body has two pairs of prominent lobes. Without magnification, to the practiced eye, the scale insect’s x-shape appearance discernable. The test is extremely hard, brittle and glossy with a dark reddish brown color. It often appears dull and black due to a coating of sooty-mold. The first instars (crawlers) are elongate-oval, deep red, and about 0.4 mm long. The characteristic lobate pattern develops in the second instar. The second instar female presumably molts to the adult female as in other scale insects. The male species has not been found in Florida.
The lobate lac scale is found mostly on woody plants that produce flowers and has two leaf parts inside the seed. It Infests the woody portions of twigs and small branches with stems usually less than two cementers in diameter, but usually, will not infest main stems greater than two cementers. There are approximately sixty plants that serve as hosts to the lobate lac scale in southern Florida.
In the western hemisphere, the potential for further spread is especially high for warm areas where this is significant movement of living plants from Florida to Puerto Rico. As well as other localities of the Caribbean Region, California, and Hawaii. Paramount concern is an invasion in the natural areas as heavy infestations have been observed in diverse native plant species.
Long-term practical options for controlling the lobate lac scale is via biological control with natural enemies. Short-term control is with the use of insecticides containing imidacloprid.