Chinese Red Scale – Cerocplastes sinensis

Chinese Red Scale: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life

Latin name: Ceroplastes Sinensis

Appearances: Of the three species, the Chinese red scale is the most recognizable. The mature females have a thick covering of pinkish brown wax that is off-white in color with white “dry” wax in the lateral and dorsal depressions. Small white wax plates arranged in a star-like rosette cover the upper side of the leaves of the immature nymphs of these scale insects.

Host plant: On domesticated, native, and naturalized plants, Chinese red scale can be found.

Territory: In New Zealand in 1932, this adventive scale insect was first noted. These days, it can be found on Great Island and the northern portion of North Island (Three Kings Islands). It has been observed on local and foreign plant species.

Damage insect caused: Chinese wax scales are sap-sucking (phloem) scales that have the potential to create honeydew that promotes the growth of fungi that cause sooty mold. The phloem, the plant channels that carry sap from the leaves to various sections of the plant, is where adult females and nymphs of the Chinese red scale insert their stylets. More water and sugars than the insect require are present in the sap. The extra water and sugar that it excretes are known as honeydew. On the honeydew, sooty molds could develop.

Life cycle and habits: Until they are ready to hatch crawlers, soft scale is rather mobile. Adult populations grow in number and prominence during this time. Scale adults lay eggs, which almost instantly hatch into crawlers. Rather than being laid in large groups, eggs are instead generated one or two at a time over a long period of several months. Feeds on the plant parts it has landed on as it develops through the second and third instars. The shape of crawlers and young instars clearly resembles a star. In New Zealand, one generation per year. both instars and adults overwinter. Throughout the summer, new generations are created.