New Potential Pest for Florida Citrus

Ernie NeffPests

Male cover of snout scale

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry (FDACS/DPI) recently issued a pest alert about snout scale (Florinia proboscidaria), a potential Florida citrus pest. The alert is aimed at preventing the pest’s introduction to and establishment in commercial citrus in Florida.

“This is a heads up that we have a new potential pest to keep an eye out for,” University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist Lauren Diepenbrock said. “We don’t know the biology of this scale; we don’t know what it’s damage will look like exactly. It may wind up not being a big deal, but since we don’t know yet, please watch for it and let me know if you notice this scale in commercial citrus, especially if it is causing problems.” Diepenbrock works at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

FDACS/DPI reported that a snout scale collection on Dec. 17, 2013, in Hillsborough County was its first detection in the continental United States. There have been at least 24 detections since that first one. The snout scale has been detected in Hillsborough, Flagler, Pinellas, Putnam and Santa Rosa counties.

In old infestations, multiple stages of snout scale were found commingled on the lower surface of leaves, causing chlorotic yellow patches, FDACS/DPI reported. The presence of multiple stages suggests multiple generations each year.

Like Diepenbrock, FDACS/DPI noted that “there is no information about the biology of snout scale.” But the agency did state that it is likely snout scale will be present year-round in Florida.

Snout scale has been reported from 11 host plant families. Citrus is one of the most common hosts. FDACS/DPI stated that snout scale “has the potential to cause damage to citrus in Florida.”

In 2019, Diepenbrock warned that a shift toward reduced use of insecticides in Florida groves could lead to the emergence of pests that haven’t generally been a problem for years; learn more.

Sources: FDACS/DPI and UF/IFAS

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