Hemiberlesia lataniae (Signoret)
Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Coccomorpha, Coccoidea, Diaspididae.
Common name: Latania scale.
Geographical distribution: Most tropical and subtropical regions of the world. CIE Map #360, 1976.
Host plants: Very polyphagous, commonly occurring on the woody parts of most woody plants.
Morphology: The dorsal macroducts are one-barred, slender. The yellow body of the female is almost rounded. The pygidium bears a single pair of strong, converging median lobes, each with an external notch, the other lobes reduced to unsclerotized points. The anus is larger than the median lobes, its diameter roughly equal to the distance from them. The vulva is located between the posterior cluster of perivulvar pores, of which there are about 10 on either side. The shield is light-grey, round and convex, the darker juvenile exuviae clearly off-center. No males are known.
Life cycle: Latania scale is parthenogenic. When reared on pumpkins in the laboratory at 27°C and 50% relative humidity, it completed a generation in about 10 weeks and produced almost 100 progeny. In the field the scale has four annual generations: one in the spring, two during summer and the fourth in the fall and winter. The crawlers may be dispersed by winds. Latania scale can also be reared on potato tubers.
Economic importance: Latania scale is a minor pest of avocado, settling on all parts of the trees. Heavily infested twigs may shrivel and die, with bark pitting, and seedlings show “bottle-neck” growth, which can stunt their development. Scale presence on fruit reduces their market value, and when the pests feed near the calyx, protuberances grow from the rind into the pulp. Latania scale is a pest of mango in Egypt and of kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa Liang and Ferguson) in New Zealand, and although occurring on that crop in Israel, has not yet caused any damage.
Mechanical control: Removal of scales from trunks and branches by scrubbing.
Chemical control: Ongoing efforts to keep synthetic pesticides out of avocado orchards indicate that only white oils are to be used to control the pest, should its populations become pestiferous. In the past fumigation was used as a quarantine treatment for this pest.
Biological control: The latania scale is attacked by a suite of natural enemies. These include several parasitoids of the families Aphelinidae, Encyrtidae and Signiphoridae. Other antagonists include coccinellid predators and the mite Hemisarcoptes coccophagus Meyer. Together these natural enemies control the latania scale.
Bar-Joseph, M and Gerson. U. 1973. Avocado bark pitting associated with the latania scale. California Avocado Society Yearbook 56: 146-147.
Blank, R.H., Olson, M.H. and Lo, P.L. 1990. Armoured scale (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) aerial invasion into kiwifruit orchards from adjacent host plants. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science 18: 81-87.
Charles, J.G., Hill, M.G. and Allan, D.J. 1995. Releases and recoveries of Chilocorus spp. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Hemisarcoptes spp. (Acari: Hemisarcoptidae) in kiwifruit orchards: 1987-93. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 22: 319-324.
El-Minshawy, A.M., El-Sawaf, S.K., Hammad, S.M. and Donia, A. 1971. The biology of Hemiberlesia lataniae (Sig.) in Alexandria district. Bulletin Societé d’entomologie Egypte 55: 461-467.
Gerson, U. and Zor, Y. 1973. The armoured scale insects (Homoptera: Diaspididae) of avocado trees in Israel. Journal of Natural History 7: 513-533.
Moustafa, M. and Abd-Rabou, S. 2011. Natural enemies of the latania scale, Hemiberlesia lataniae (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) in Egypt. Egyptian Academy Journal of Biological Sciemces 4: 75-90.
Witherell, P. C. 1984. Methyl bromide fumigation as a quarantine treatment for latania scale, Hemiberlesia lataniae (Homoptera: Diaspididae). Florida Entomologist 67: 254-262.