EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 08 - 2002 Num. article: 2002/135

Introduction of Ceroplastes ceriferus into Italy: addition to the EPPO Alert List

In January 2001, during a survey on scale populations of ornamental plants in parks and gardens near Verona (Veneto, Italy), an unusual species was noticed (Mori et al., 2001). It was identified as Ceroplastes ceriferus (Homoptera, Coccidae), a polyphagous species thought to originate from Asia. This is the first report of this species in Europe. In Italy, it was collected from: Acer palmatum, Cornus sanguinea, C. alba, Desmodium penduliflorum, Deutzia gracilis, Laurus nobilis, Magnolia stellata, Malus domestica, Spiraea japonica, Viburnum dentatum. So far, C. ceriferus has been recorded outdoors in gardens and nurseries in two regions of northern Italy: Veneto (district of Verona) and Lombardia (district of Bergamo). The observation of overwintering adult females suggested that the pest is probably already established. No damage to plants has been observed, probably because of its recent introduction. Considering the high fecundity of C. ceriferus, its wide host-range and its already known ability to overwinter outdoors, the authors concluded that in absence of any control, this new pest is likely to spread and represent a threat for several ornamental species.

Ceroplastes ceriferus (Homoptera, Coccidae) – Japanese or Indian wax scale
Why: Ceroplastes ceriferus came to our attention because of its recent introduction into Italy. It is a highly polyphagous pest which could represent a threat for ornamental plants, and possibly fruit crops.

Where: It occurs in many parts of the world, but until recently it was still absent from Europe.
Europe: Italy (reported for the first time in 2001 in Lombardia and Veneto on various ornamentals). C. ceriferus has been intercepted by the Netherlands in 1999 and 2000, on Ficus and Podocarpus from Taiwan.
Asia: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
Africa: Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda.
North America: Mexico, USA (present in many states)
Central & South America, Caribbean: Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands.
Oceania: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu

On which plants: Highly polyphagous (more than 122 plant species in 46 families). It attacks a wide range of crops, mostly fruit crops (e.g. apple, avocado, citrus, fig, pear, plum, quince, Vaccinium and many tropical fruit crops) and ornamentals (e.g. Acer, Berberis, Buxus, Cornus, Deutzia, Euonymus, Ficus, Ilex, Lagerstroemia, Laurus, Magnolia, Platanus, Populus, Pyracantha, Rhododendron, Salix, Viburnum ...)

Damage: C. ceriferus occurs on foliage, stems and branches. The scales can cause chlorotic spotting on the leaves which may fall prematurely, dieback of stems and wilting, and reduced vigour of the plants. Severe infestations disfigure plants because of the large numbers of white scales and copious honeydew on which sooty mould develops. C. ceriferus has one generation per year and overwinters as mature females. Mature females are covered with thick white wax, usually with an anteriorly projecting horn of wax. Immature stages (crawlers) are flattened and tiny. In North America, C. ceriferus is considered as a serious pest of ornamentals. It is also reported as a pest of tea in China (Guizhou), of poplars in India (Karnataka) and as a minor pest of avocado in Australia (Queensland).

Dissemination: Immature stages can move over short distances. Over long distances, all stages can be transported on infected plant material.

Pathway: Plants for planting, cut branches and foliage of host plants from countries where C. ceriferus occurs.

Possible risks: C. ceriferus is a highly polyphagous pest, and many of its host plants are grown in Europe for fruit production or ornamental purposes. Its recent introduction into Italy showed that the pest is able to survive in parts of Europe. Although more data is needed on the impact of this scale on fruit crops, it seems that it is more a threat for ornamental crops. Control of scales is usually difficult in practice, although biological control agents exist in other parts of the world, it is not known whether they could reduce populations sufficiently under European conditions.

EPPO RS 2002/135
Panel review date: -
Entry date 2002-08


CABI Crop Protection Compendium 2001.
Mori, N.; Pellizzari, G;; Tosi, L. (2001) Ceroplastes ceriferus (Fabricius) (Hemiptera, Coccoidea): new pest of ornamentals in Europe ? Bollettino di Zoologia Agraria e di Bachicoltura, Serie II, 33(3), 331-336.
Mori, N.; Pellizzari, G;; Tosi, L. (2001) [First record of the wax scale Ceroplastes ceriferus (Fabricius) (Hemiptera, Coccoidea) in Italy]. Informatore Fitopatologico, no. 10, 41-43.