Cottony Cushion Scale

Subject: Strange Looking
Location: San Antonio, TX
September 13, 2013 5:42 pm
Hi Bugman! I have no idea what these are but I found them on my lime tree here in San Antonio, TX. There are about 8 of them in a bunch and only on one branch of the tree. I cut the branch off to prevent a further infestation. Any ideas?
Signature: CuriousDaisy

Cottony Cushion Scale
Cottony Cushion Scale

Dear CuriousDaisy,
These are Cottony Cushion Scale,
Icerya purchasi, and you were wise to remove the branch.  According to BugGuide, it is  “Native to Australia, has spread widely as a crop pest” and “When it first appeared in the w. US it was a major pest of Citrus crops. In CA, around 1889, it was an early success story for biological control by beneficial ladybird beetles (Rodolia cardinalis). (Full story) The control was so successful that in 1893 a Florida nurseryman asked for some of the beneficials to be sent to FL, to test as a control for other scale insects. The scale was included in the shipment as food for the beetles, and thus accidentally introduced to FL citrus.”

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