Fig wax scale, Ceroplastes rusci (Linnaeus), was first discovered in Florida at several nursery and stock dealers in 1994 and 1995. It has become a common pest of Ixora spp. Heavy infestation can lead to reduced vigor of the host plant. Heavy infestations may result in chlorotic spotting and premature leaf drop, wilting, and stem dieback. These insects can produce copious amounts of honeydew.
- Promote health and vigor with proper irrigation, mulching, proper pruning and prescription based fertilization practices.
- Adequate water is a key factor in maintaining stress free plants. A slow, deep watering event once every few weeks during dry conditions will help maintain soil moisture levels and minimize stress.
- Mulch is very beneficial for all trees because it reduces competition with turf and moderates soil temperature and moisture levels. The addition of 3 inches of wood chips or shredded bark under the drip line can have a very beneficial effect by holding in moisture and promoting healthy fibrous roots.
- Cambistat can be also be used to promote tree health and reduce the incidence and severity of stress mediated diseases and insect problems on trees growing in urban areas
Systemic have been reported to work well.
Signs of Damage
- This scale is deeply encased in pinkish-gray wax, which is divided into three wax plates on each side with additional plates at the anterior and posterior ends
- Copious honey dew producer
Photo: adult female fig wax scales
Photo: Fig wax scale located mainly on veins
Photo: Nymph of the fig wax scale
Ceroplastes rusci (Linnaeus)
Trees At Risk
Multiple species, but most often Ixora spp.
- Adult females overwinter on twigs and produce eggs very early in the spring.
- The eggs hatch to crawlers which move to feed on leaves.
- After about one month, the crawlers molt to 2nd instar nymphs and migrate to the leaf petioles or to new shoots.
- Scales mature in summer, and a new generation of crawlers is produced.
- These nymphs mature late in the fall, overwinter on the twigs, and repeat the cycle (Bodkin 1927).
Always refer to product label for rates and approved uses. Some images courtesy of forestryimages.org or Wikimedia Commons. Use of the images does not imply endorsement of treatments.