Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Hemiberlesia rapax
(greedy scale (USA))



Hemiberlesia rapax (greedy scale (USA))


  • Last modified
  • 01 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Hemiberlesia rapax
  • Preferred Common Name
  • greedy scale (USA)
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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TitleH. rapax
CopyrightRaymond J. Gill/USDA
H. rapaxRaymond J. Gill/USDA


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Hemiberlesia rapax (Comstock) 1881

Preferred Common Name

  • greedy scale (USA)

Other Scientific Names

  • Aspidiotus camelliae Signoret 1869
  • Aspidiotus convexus Comstock 1881
  • Aspidiotus lucumae Cockerell 1899
  • Aspidiotus rapax Comstock 1881
  • Aspidiotus tricolor Cockerell 1897
  • Hemiberlesia argentina Leonardi 1911
  • Hemiberlesia rapax Ferris 1938

International Common Names

  • English: Camellia scale (USA and USSR)

EPPO code

  • HEBERA (Hemiberlesia rapax)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Coccoidea
  •                                 Family: Diaspididae
  •                                     Genus: Hemiberlesia
  •                                         Species: Hemiberlesia rapax

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page This species was originally described by Comstock (1881) who placed it in the genus Aspidiotus. Synonyms include A. lucumae Cockerell (1899), A. convexus Comstock (1881) and A. camelliae Signoret (1869). In 1938, Ferris transferred the species to Hemiberlesia (Ferris, 1938; Kosztarab, 1996).


Top of page The cover of the females is subcircular to elongate, and varies from grey to white with the dark exuviae placed slightly off-centre. Male covers are smaller, ovoid, with the tan to light-brown exuviae located at the anterior end. Adult males have well-developed legs, one pair of simple wings, long antennae, very long genitalia and no mouthparts. The body of slide-mounted female is pear-shaped, about 1-1.5 mm long, yellow, with a membranous derm. The pygidial area is distinguished by the presence of well developed paraphyses, but lacks perivulvar pores. A small pair of plates are located between a large, but closely set, pair of median lobes. The second and third lobes are reduced to unsclerotized points. Two large plates occur in the first interlobular space, three between the second and third, and two or three beyond the third space. A few dorsal ducts are present on the posterior segments and numerous ventral microducts occur on all abdominal segments.


Top of page H. rapax is thought to be native to Europe (Gill, 1997); it was originally described from host plants in California and Florida, USA, and has since been found in countries in Africa, Central and South America, Europe and Southern Asia. This species is a serious pest of woody ornamentals, especially in tropical and subtropical regions (Davidson and Miller, 1990).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


IndiaPresentMerrill, 1953; Devnath, 1985; Devnath, 1987
-Arunachal PradeshPresentAsham et al., 1996
-West BengalPresentBlank et al., 1987
JapanPresentMerrill, 1953; Kosztarab, 1996
MalaysiaPresentAPPPC, 1987
Sri LankaPresentMerrill, 1953
TurkeyPresentÜlgentürk et al., 2009


MadagascarPresentMamet, 1954
South AfricaPresentMerrill, 1953
ZimbabwePresentMerrill, 1953

North America

MexicoPresentSalaza-Torres & Solis-Aguilar, 1990; Merrill, 1953; Schotman, 1989; Miller, 1996
USAPresentSchotman, 1989
-AlabamaPresentNakahara, 1982
-CaliforniaEradicatedNakahara, 1982
-ConnecticutPresentNakahara, 1982
-DelawarePresentNakahara, 1982
-FloridaPresentDavidson and Miller, 1990
-GeorgiaPresentNakahara, 1982
-HawaiiWidespreadMerrill, 1953; Beardsley, 1966
-IllinoisPresentKosztarab, 1996
-IndianaPresentNakahara, 1982; Kosztarab, 1996
-LouisianaPresentNakahara, 1982
-MainePresentNakahara, 1982
-MarylandPresentNakahara, 1982; Kosztarab, 1996
-MichiganPresentKosztarab, 1996
-MississippiPresentNakahara, 1982
-MissouriPresentNakahara, 1982
-New JerseyPresentNakahara, 1982; Kosztarab, 1996
-New YorkPresentNakahara, 1982; Kosztarab, 1996
-North CarolinaPresentNakahara, 1982
-OhioPresentNakahara, 1982; Kosztarab, 1996
-OregonPresentNakahara, 1982
-PennsylvaniaPresentStimmel, 1987; Kosztarab, 1996
-Rhode IslandPresentNakahara, 1982
-South CarolinaPresentNakahara, 1982
-TennesseePresentLambdin and Watson, 1980; Nakahara, 1982
-TexasPresentNakahara, 1982
-VirginiaPresentKosztarab, 1996
-West VirginiaPresentNakahara, 1982

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresentSchotman, 1989
Costa RicaPresentSchotman, 1989
CubaPresentMerrill, 1953; Schotman, 1989
GuatemalaPresentSchotman, 1989
HondurasPresentHawksworth and Wicker, 1973
JamaicaPresentSchotman, 1989
Puerto RicoPresentSchotman, 1989
Trinidad and TobagoPresentSchotman, 1989

South America

ArgentinaPresentCrouzel, 1973; Schotman, 1989
BoliviaPresentSquire, 1972
BrazilPresentMerrill, 1953
-Sao PauloPresentNHM
ChilePresentMatta, 1979; Gonzalez, 1986; Schotman, 1989; Gonzalez and Curkovic, 1994
ColombiaPresentSchotman, 1989
EcuadorPresentSchotman, 1989
GuyanaPresentSchotman, 1989
PeruPresentSchotman, 1989
UruguayPresentSchotman, 1989


CroatiaPresentMilek and Simala, 2013; Milek et al., 2017
GermanyPresentSchönfeld, 2015Brandenburg
ItalyPresentBianchi et al., 1994
PortugalPresentMerrill, 1953
Russian FederationPresentKolodochka, 1983
SpainPresentMerrill, 1953
UKPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-England and WalesPresentNHM


AustraliaPresentMerrill, 1953
-South AustraliaPresentNHM
New CaledoniaPresentNHM
New ZealandPresentBlank et al., 1993a; Blank et al., 1993b; Tomkins et al., 1992; Hill et al., 1993; Blank et al., 1995; Charles et al., 1995
Papua New GuineaPresentWilliams and Watson, 1988


Top of page H. rapax is most often found on the bark of the trunk and limbs of its host, but also occurs on the leaves and fruit. In New Zealand, taraire trees (Beilschmiedia tarairi) are a primary alternate host for the greedy scale (Blank et al., 1987, 1995b).

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page H. rapax is a cosmopolitan species of tropical origin that may attain serious pest status on a variety of plant hosts in warmer geographical zones. This species is primarily found on the leaves and bark of woody ornamentals representing over 117 genera (Davidson and Miller, 1990). Although it is often found infesting plants in glasshouses, it seldom becomes a major pest. Dekle (1965) listed 92 hosts for this species.

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page H. rapax initially infests the bark and the axils of leaves, but as the infestation increases, it spreads to other parts of the host plant.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / discoloration
Fruit / external feeding
Fruit / honeydew or sooty mould
Fruit / premature drop
Growing point / dieback
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / necrotic areas
Leaves / yellowed or dead
Stems / dieback
Stems / external feeding
Stems / honeydew or sooty mould

Biology and Ecology

Top of page H. rapax has two or more overlapping generations outdoors, but may have continuous generations in glasshouses with all stages present (Schuh and Mote, 1948; Stimmel, 1987). All stages may be found infesting the bark and leaves of its host. Reproduction is believed to be either uniparental or biparental depending upon geographical region. Gill (1997) reported this species to be parthenogenetic and ovoviviparous in California, USA, with two or more generations annually. However, Merrill (1953) and Miller (1985) described both males and females. Females deposit clusters of 30-50 yellow eggs underneath their scale covers. Two periods of crawler activity occur from November to January and from March to May in New Zealand (Dale, 1981; Tomkins et al., 1992; Blank et al., 1995, 1996). In the field, movement of crawlers from one host to another is often by wind, birds or other insects. There are two immature instars in the female; crawlers migrate to a suitable site to settle and feed. The second instar loses its legs and becomes sessile. Blank et al. (1996) determined the time of the two population peaks for the various stages based on degree days.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Aphytis chilensis Parasite
Aphytis lingnanensis Parasite
Aphytis proclia Parasite
Encarsia citrina Parasite Nymphs
Encarsia lounsburyi Parasite
Hemisarcoptes malus Predator Adults/Eggs/Nymphs
Nectria flammea Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Paraseiulus inobservatus Predator Adults/Nymphs
Signiphora flavella Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Signiphora merceti Parasite Adults/Nymphs

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Each pest species generally has its own complement of parasitoids and predators that regulate the population. Implementation of a successful integrated control programme is dependent upon the effectiveness of the biological control agents selected. Blank et al. (1995) reported that three parasitoids, Encarsia citrina, Signiphora merceti and S. flavella, maintained this pest at low levels on kiwifruit in New Zealand. When these parasitoids were absent, a 7-fold increase in the population density of the pest occurred. In Italy, the parasitoids Aphytis proclia and S. merceti are associated with H. rapax (Bianchi et al., 1994). Several predators were also imported and released to suppress the scale insect population on kiwifruit in New Zealand (Hill et al., 1993; Charles et al., 1995).


Top of page H. rapax is a major pest of both fruit and woody ornamental plants, primarily in the tropical and subtropical regions. Contamination by H. rapax often causes leaf yellowing, premature leaf drop, and dieback. In Florida, USA, Dekle (1965) reported it to be a frequent pest of pecan. Gill (1997) reported it to be an occasional pest of ornamentals. In a survey of scale insects on kiwifruit crops, Berry et al. (1989) found H. rapax comprised over 96% of the specimens sampled. Because scale insects are important quarantine pests, export of infested kiwifruit can be inhibited (Blank et al., 1996). Blank et al. (1993a) reported 51% of the fruit examined at packhouses in New Zealand had scale infestations that impacted on the fruit quality, while 32% had acceptable levels of scales. Of the kiwifruit rejected for export from New Zealand, 56% had a single scale while mature scales were primarily responsible for rejecting the fruit (Blank et al., 1992). This pest was also implemented as a factor for fruit rejection in blueberries in New Zealand (Tomkins and Koller, 1985). It is an occasional pest of Citrus. Although this species has been in Italy for several years, it is considered of little economic importance there (Bianchi et al., 1994).


Top of page Sticky traps are used to monitor crawler emergence in orchards. It is difficult to distinguish this species from Hemiberlesia lataniae and H. diffinis in the field. The cover contains concentric colour lines resulting from the discarded exuviae of the juvenile stages. However, microscopic examination of slide-mounted females may be used to distinguish the species. The adult females may be separated from H. lataniae by the lack of perivulvar pores, and from H. diffinis by the presence of unsclerotized second and third lobes on the pygidial margin.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Woody plants should be closely inspected in strong light, especially the bark and leaf axis. The subcircular female cover is greyish to white, convex, with the exuviae off-centre. The three developmental stages may be determined by the appearance of the cover and exuviae as white caps (first instar), yellow caps (second instar) and black caps (adult female). Sticky traps are often used to monitor the aerial dispersal of crawlers into kiwifruit orchards from March to May and November to January (Blank et al., 1987).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page The structure of the cover is similar to that of the latania scale (Hemiberlesia lataniae), but may sometimes be distinguished by being paler. Dekle (1965) inferred H. rapax was often confused with the Putnam scale, Diaspidiotus ancylus, but can be distinguished by its darker exuviae. H. rapax resembles oleander scale, Aspidiotus nerii, in life but its scale cover is not as flat as that of A. nerii (Gill, 1997).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Effective control has been obtained using biological control agents, chemicals, insect growth regulators (for immatures), mineral oil or dormant applications of lime sulfur. Insecticidal soaps alone did not prevent infestations by the greedy scale on kiwifruit in New Zealand (Tomkins and O'Callaghan, 1996), however, dormant chemical applications provided early season control. Blank et al. (1993b) found mineral oil produced a lower toxicity against the greedy scale compared with chemical compounds. Greaves et al. (1992) found that applications of abamectin followed by chlorpyrifos reduced greedy scale infestations on fruits to 4% compared with 54% on untreated vines. The residual levels of organophosphate and pyrethroid evaluated to deter crawlers from settling on the host were similar or below the established residual levels in New Zealand (Blank et al., 1995c).

Application of a mineral oil during early January in New Zealand resulted in damage to the fruit (McKenna and Steven, 1993). Higher concentrations resulted in an increase in the severity of damage to the fruit.

In New Zealand, the mean generation intervals on wood and leaves were determined to be 1022 and 1114 degree days, respectively (Blank et al., 1996). Information on the population peaks will provide more efficient implementation of control programmes. Insect growth regulators have proved effective against the immature stages of this pest (Tomkins et al., 1994). High populations of biological control agents maintained the greedy scale at low levels over three successive generations in New Zealand (Blank et al., 1995). However, when the parasitoid population declined, the pest populations increased significantly. Three coccinellid and two predaceous mites were introduced into New Zealand from 1987 to 1992 to suppress this pest (Charles et al., 1995).


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APPPC, 1987. Insect pests of economic significance affecting major crops of the countries in Asia and the Pacific region. Technical Document No. 135. Bangkok, Thailand: Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific region (RAPA)

Asham Borang, 1996. Important insect pests of forest nurseries and plantations in Arunachal Pradesh. Impact of diseases and insect pests in tropical forests. Proceedings of the IUFRO Symposium, Peechi, India, 23-26 November 1993., 474-479; 9 ref

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Bianchi A, Pacchiacucchi A, Guarino L, Maffeo E, 1994. Record of a new scale insect on kiwifruit in Lazio. Informatore Agrario, 50(46):73-75

Blank RH, Gill GSC, Olson MH, 1995. Seasonal abundance of greedy scale (Homoptera: Diaspididae) and associated parasitoids on taraire (Beilschmiedia tarairi). Journal of Economic Entomology, 88(6):1634-1640; 29 ref

Blank RH, Gill GSC, Olson MH, Upsdell MP, 1995. Greedy scale (Homoptera: Diaspididae) phenology on taraire based on Julian day and degree-day accumulations. Environmental Entomology, 24(6):1569-1575; 21 ref

Blank RH, Gill GSC, Upsdell MP, 1996. Greedy scale, Hemiberlesia rapax (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), phenology on kiwifruit leaves and wood. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 24(3):239-248; 25 ref

Blank RH, Holland PT, Gill GSC, Olson MH, Malcolm CP, 1995. Efficacy and persistence of insecticide residues on fruit of kiwifruit to prevent greedy scale (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) crawler settlement. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 23(1):13-23

Blank RH, Olson MH, Bell DS, 1987. Invasion of greedy scale crawlers (Hemiberlesia rapax) onto kiwifruit from taraire trees. New Zealand Entomologist, 10:127-130

Blank RH, Olson MH, Gill GSC, 1992. Armoured scale, Hemiberlesia lataniae and H. rapax (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), infestation of kiwifruit rejected for export at two packhouses from 1987 to 1991. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 20(4):397-405

Blank RH, Olson MH, Gill GSC, 1993a. An assessment of the quarantine risk of armoured scale (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) fruit infestations on kiwifruit. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 21(2):139-145

Blank RH, Olson MH, Lo PL, 1993. Mineral oil and diazinon to control armoured scale on kiwifruit. Proceedings of the Forty Sixth New Zealand Plant Protection Conference, 10-12 August 1993. Rotorua, New Zealand: New Zealand Plant Protection Society, 71-74

Charles JG, Hill MG, Allan DJ, 1995. Releases and recoveries of Chilocorus spp. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and Hemisarcoptes spp. (Acari: Hemisarcoptidae) in kiwifruit orchards: 1987-93. New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 22(3):319-324

Comstock JH, 1881. Annual Report Department of Agriculture for 1880. Report of the entomologist of the United States Department of Agriculture for the year 1880, Part II - Report on scale insects. USA: USDA, 276-349

Crouzel IS de, 1973. Studies on the biological control of scales (Diaspididae) that attack citrus crops in the Republic of Argentina. Idia, 304:15-39

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Devnath S, 1987. Fusarium coccophilum (Desm) Wr. & Rg ? an interesting entomogenous fungus recorded on Hemiberlesia rapax (Comstock), a scale insect pest of tea. Two and a Bud, 34(1-2):29-30; 3 ref

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Greaves AJ, Tomkins AR, Wilson DJ, Thomson C, 1992. Abamectin to control armoured scales (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) on kiwifruit. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, 20(1):79-83

Hawksworth FG, Wicker EF, 1973. Nectria flammea associated with scale insects on dwarf mistletoe in Honduras. Turrialba, 23(3):365-367

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