A pest advisory has been released by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture warning macadamia nut growers about a new pest detected in South Kona, Hawaii. The pest is believed to be the macadamia felted coccid, Eriococcus ironsidei, a scale insect native to Australia. The tiny crawlers are easily dispersed by wind or as hitchhikers on birds, ants, humans, or farm equipment. The host range is limited to macadamias. Damage is via the piercing-sucking mouthparts of the insect which after feeding on the host can result in chlorosis, defoliation, and dieback. Macadamia nut production in the United States ranks only second to Australia for top world production. The largest producer of macadamias in the United States is Hawaii. Control methods such as horticultural oils and predatory insects are being explored.
For the full story:
Hawaii Dept. of Agric. New Pest Advisory (March 09, 2005)
Hawaii Dept. of Agric. News Release (March 11, 2005)