Asian Cycad Scale

Aulacaspis yasumatsu

The Asian cycad scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui, is an armored scale native to Thailand and southern China. Since it was found in Miami in 1996, it has spread quickly through Florida and other parts of the world on shipments of nursery stock. Asian cycad scales produce a white crust on the fronds of infested plants, making them appear as though they are snow covered. At its worst, an infestation of Asian cycad scale can completely coat a sago palm within months and cause its death within one year. The rapid reproduction of this insect – paired with its ability to infest root systems – makes Asian cycad scale among the most important insect pests of Florida.

Download Asian Cycad Scale Fact Sheet

Treatment Strategy

Although Asian cycad scale is difficult to control, chemical treatments are available that can significantly reduce populations on plants. Often living in the soil, these insects are not well controlled by contact insecticides. Instead, systemic treatments that move into the plant tissues these scales feed in are recommended.

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Asian Cycad Scale Treatment Option 1

Transtect is absorbed by the roots and can be present in the leaves as quickly as one week. Treatments should begin in the early spring as the first flush of growth is emerging to contact the most vulnerable life stage of Asian cycad scale. Often times, multiple applications are required to control this mobile insect, so Transtect™ treatments spaced 90-120 days apart are recommended to maintain protection.

Application type - Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment needed:

• Transtect

• Measuring tape or diameter tape

• Soil drench kit

• Watering can

Asian Cycad Scale DIY Kit

Application type - Soil drench 

DIY Product/Equipment needed:

• Transtect

• Measuring tape or diameter tape

Soil drench kit

• Watering can

How Is It Spread?

Asian cycad females lay over 110 eggs that hatch in 8-12 days. In the spring, newly emerged crawlers spread to new feeding sites by wind or other means. After feeding has started, the scale remains at the same site for the remainder of its life cycle and creates a white, waxy covering to protect itself from predators. Females go through three instars (life stages) before becoming adults 28 days after hatching. There are multiple generations of Asian cycads each year.

Susceptible Trees

Plants in the cycad family, with the most affected being the King and Queen sago palms, cardboard palms and coonties.

Symptoms

• Yellow spots on the upper surface of fronds, then fronds become brown and desiccated.

• White, waxy covering is readily visible and can coat the entire plant.

Lookalikes

None

Related/Similar Problems

None

Timing

Spring; as leaves are emerging

Urgency

Moderate

Risk of Spreading

High

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