Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Saissetia oleae
(olive scale)



Saissetia oleae (olive scale)


  • Last modified
  • 03 January 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Saissetia oleae
  • Preferred Common Name
  • olive scale
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Top of page
Saissetia oleae - black scale.
TitleBlack scale
CaptionSaissetia oleae - black scale.
CopyrightPeter A.C. Ooi/CABI BioScience
Saissetia oleae - black scale.
Black scaleSaissetia oleae - black scale.Peter A.C. Ooi/CABI BioScience


Top of page

Preferred Scientific Name

  • Saissetia oleae (Olivier, 1791)

Preferred Common Name

  • olive scale

Other Scientific Names

  • Bernardia oleae (Bernard) Marlatt, 1892
  • Chermes oleae (Bernard) Signoret, 1869
  • Coccus oleae Olivier, 1791
  • Coccus palmae Haworth, 1812
  • Coccus testudo Curtis, 1843
  • Lecanium oleae (Bernard) Signoret, 1896
  • Lecanium oleae testudo (Curtis) Cockerell, 1896
  • Lecanium palmae (Haworth) Douglas, 1887
  • Lecanium testudo (Curtis) Signoret, 1874
  • Neobernardia oleae (Bernard) Cockerell, 1893
  • Parasaissetia oleae (Bernard) Ezzat & Hussein, 1969
  • Saissetia obae (Bernard) Rutherford, 1915

International Common Names

  • English: black scale; black shield scale; brown olive scale; citrus black scale; mediterranean black scale; olive soft scale
  • Spanish: cappareta negra; cochinilla del olivo; cochinilla negro del olivo; conchuela negra del olivo; escama glorosa; escama negra del citricos (Mexico)
  • French: cochenille noire de l'olivier

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: cochonilha parda; cochonilha parda
  • Denmark: sort olivenskjoldlus
  • Germany: Schwarze Oelbaum-Schildlaus; Schwarze Oliven-Schildlaus
  • Israel: knimat hazyit haraka
  • Italy: Cocciniglia grande nera dell'olivo
  • South Africa: swart dopluis
  • Turkey: kara kosnil

EPPO code

  • SAISOL (Saissetia oleae)

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page It is thought that there are several biologically different races of Saissetia oleae (De Lotto, 1965; Bartlett, 1960).

Signoret mistakenly attributed the authorship of Lecanium oleae to Bernard in 1896. For quite a few years other authors followed him. De Lotto (1971) recognised the mistake and correctly attributed the authorship to Olivier.


Top of page Mature adult S. oleae appear as sessile dark grey or brown-to-black lumps attached to leaf undersides and stems. The limbs of each insect are short and are hidden beneath the body, and eyes are only visible in younger specimens with pale bodies.

Early instars are difficult to distinguish from those of other species of soft scale. First-instar crawlers (0.35 mm long) and intermediate immature instars are translucent light brown, with two black eyes placed anterolaterally. Adult females lack wings; they are 2-5 mm across, approximately circular in outline, fairly flat, yellow or grey and granular in appearance initially, becoming hemispherical and dark grey or brown to black and matt with age (Gill, 1988). Adult females develop an egg-filled hollow under the body as they become increasingly convex in shape. The small, winged males are rare.

For an authoritative identification, slide-mounted adult female specimens should be examined under a compound light microscope. Diagnostic characters of slide-mounted females are: dorsal reticulation absent, areolation present; large discal seta present on each anal plate; dorsal setae conical; 2-13 blunt or only slightly frayed marginal setae present between the anterior and posterior stigmatic clefts on each side; ventral submarginal tubular ducts of one type only; tibio-tarsal articulatory scleroses usually present. Thorough descriptions and comments on morphological variation of S. oleae are given by De Lotto (1965).


Top of page S. oleae is thought to have originated in South Africa (De Lotto, 1965, 1976).

The distribution map includes several records from the Natural History Museum, London, UK. These records are indicated as NHM (date). The record for Netherlands in 1977 is a quarantine interception.

Distribution Table

Top of page

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


ArmeniaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
AzerbaijanPresentBen-Dov, 1993
BangladeshPresentCIE, 1973
British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentCIE, 1973
CambodiaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FujianPresentCIE, 1973
-GuangdongPresentCIE, 1973
-GuangxiPresentTang, 1991
-Hong KongPresentCIE, 1973
-Nei MengguPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-TibetPresentBen-Dov, 1993
Georgia (Republic of)PresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Andhra PradeshPresentCIE, 1973
-AssamPresentCIE, 1973
-Indian PunjabPresentSharma, 2011
-KarnatakaPresentCIE, 1973
-Tamil NaduPresent
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-JavaPresentCIE, 1973
IranPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
IsraelPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
JapanPresentCIE, 1973
LebanonPresentCIE, 1973
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentCIE, 1973
-SarawakPresentCIE, 1973
PakistanPresentCIE, 1973
PhilippinesPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
Saudi ArabiaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
Sri LankaPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
SyriaPresentCIE, 1973
TaiwanPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
ThailandPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
TurkeyPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
VietnamPresentBen-Dov, 1993


AlgeriaPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
AngolaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
CameroonPresentBen-Dov, 1993
ComorosPresentBen-Dov, 1993
Côte d'IvoirePresentBen-Dov, 1993
EgyptPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
EritreaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
KenyaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
LibyaPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
MadagascarPresentBen-Dov, 1993
MalawiPresentBen-Dov, 1993
MauritiusPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
MoroccoPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
SeychellesPresentCIE, 1973
South AfricaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-Canary IslandsPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
TunisiaPresentCIE, 1973
ZimbabwePresentBen-Dov, 1993

North America

BermudaPresentCIE, 1973
MexicoPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentCIE, 1973
-ArizonaPresentCIE, 1973; Hamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-CaliforniaPresentCIE, 1973; Hamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-ColoradoPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-ConnecticutPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-FloridaPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-HawaiiPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-IndianaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-KansasPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-LouisianaPresentCIE, 1973; Hamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-MassachusettsPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-New JerseyPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-New MexicoPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-New YorkPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-South CarolinaPresentCIE, 1973; Hamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993
-TexasPresentCIE, 1973
-WashingtonPresentHamon and Williams, 1984; Ben-Dov, 1993

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentCIE, 1973
BahamasPresentCIE, 1973
BarbadosPresentCIE, 1973
British Virgin IslandsPresentCIE, 1973
Cayman IslandsPresent
Costa RicaPresentCIE, 1973
CubaPresentCIE, 1973
DominicaPresentCIE, 1973
Dominican RepublicPresentCIE, 1973
El SalvadorPresentCIE, 1973
GrenadaPresentCIE, 1973
GuadeloupePresentCIE, 1973
GuatemalaPresentCIE, 1973
HaitiPresentCIE, 1973
HondurasPresentCIE, 1973
JamaicaPresentCIE, 1973
MartiniquePresentCIE, 1973
MontserratPresentCIE, 1973
PanamaPresentCIE, 1973
Puerto RicoPresentCIE, 1973
Saint Kitts and NevisPresent
Saint LuciaPresentCIE, 1973
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentCIE, 1973
Trinidad and TobagoPresentCIE, 1973
United States Virgin IslandsPresentCIE, 1973

South America

ArgentinaPresentCIE, 1973
BoliviaPresentCIE, 1973
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AmazonasPresentCIE, 1973
-BahiaPresentCIE, 1973
-Minas GeraisPresentCIE, 1973
-ParaPresentCIE, 1973
-ParaibaPresentCIE, 1973
-ParanaPresentAlbuquerque et al., 2002
-PernambucoPresentCIE, 1973
-Rio de JaneiroPresentCIE, 1973
-Rio Grande do SulPresentCIE, 1973; Ricalde et al., 2015
-Santa CatarinaPresentCIE, 1973
-Sao PauloPresentCIE, 1973
ChilePresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
ColombiaPresentCIE, 1973
EcuadorPresentCIE, 1973
GuyanaPresentCIE, 1973
ParaguayPresentCIE, 1973
PeruPresentCIE, 1973
SurinamePresentCIE, 1973
UruguayPresentCIE, 1973
VenezuelaPresentCIE, 1973


AustriaPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
BulgariaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
CyprusPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
DenmarkPresentBen-Dov, 1993
FrancePresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-CorsicaPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
GermanyPresentBen-Dov, 1993
GreecePresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
ItalyPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
MaltaPresentCIE, 1973
MontenegroPresentHrncic, 2002
PortugalPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-AzoresPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-MadeiraPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
Russian FederationPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Central RussiaPresentCIE, 1973
SloveniaPresentKoren et al., 2004
SpainPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-Balearic IslandsPresentCIE, 1973
SwitzerlandPresentDe Lotto, 1965; CIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
UKPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993


AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-New South WalesPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-QueenslandPresentCIE, 1973
-South AustraliaPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
-TasmaniaPresentCIE, 1973
-VictoriaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
-Western AustraliaPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
FijiPresentCIE, 1973
French PolynesiaPresentWilliams et al., 1990; Ben-Dov, 1993
Marshall IslandsPresentBen-Dov, 1993
New CaledoniaPresentCIE, 1973; Williams et al., 1990; Ben-Dov, 1993
New ZealandPresentCIE, 1973; Henderson et al., 2010
Norfolk IslandPresentWilliams et al., 1990; Ben-Dov, 1993
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentBen-Dov, 1993
PalauPresentCIE, 1973; Ben-Dov, 1993
Papua New GuineaPresentBen-Dov, 1993
SamoaPresentCIE, 1973
Solomon IslandsPresentBen-Dov, 1993

Risk of Introduction

Top of page The occurrence of races of S. oleae with different host preferences and natural enemies is of quarantine importance, and the movement of this species should be restricted even between countries where it is already established. Its potential geographical range in temperate areas may increase as a result of global warming.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page S. oleae is polyphagous and has been recorded from 113 host-plant species in 49 families. In California it prefers citrus, olive and oleander (Gill, 1988). S. oleae can be cultured on oleander or sprouts of planted potatoes (Bartlett, 1978). Methods of mass rearing are given by Blumberg and Swirsky (1977).

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage


Top of page S. oleae colonies extract large quantities of sap, causing general host debilitation and build-up of sticky honeydew deposits on nearby surfaces. The honeydew may attract attendant ants. Sooty moulds grow on the sugary deposits. Badly fouled leaves may be dropped prematurely. The older insects are usually quite easy to see as dark grey or brown-to-black lumps on leaf undersides and stems.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / abnormal leaf fall
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves / wilting
Stems / external feeding

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Reproduction in S. oleae is generally parthenogenetic, although males do occur rarely. The female lays 1000-4000 eggs in a cavity under her body, where they are protected for the 16-40 days they take to hatch (Gill, 1988; Hamon and Williams, 1984). The first instar (crawler) walks about actively to locate a feeding site. There are three instars.

In California, one generation occurs each year in inland areas and two near the coast; overwintering takes place at the intermediate immature stage. In culture, optimum growth occurs at about 21°C and a complete generation takes 70-90 days (Bartlett, 1978).

Honeydew production is greatest during periods of rapid growth and oviposition. Ants may be attracted to colonies by the honeydew excreted and may deter natural enemies from attacking the scales (Gill, 1988).

The main dispersal stage of S. oleae is the crawler, but individuals remain capable of locomotion until oviposition begins (Gill, 1988). Dispersal by crawlers is limited to the same plant, or adjacent plants if they are touching. However, crawlers can be carried between plants and sites on larger animals including man, and all life cycle stages can be transported on ornamental plants, propagation material or produce.

The range of S. oleae in California is restricted by high temperature combined with low humidity, which affects immature stages adversely (Gill, 1988). Hot, dry conditions influence the distribution of the insects on the plant, as they avoid these extremes by colonizing the shaded, more humid parts of the plant (usually the lower part of the canopy) (Briales and Campos, 1988).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Aloencyrtus niloticus Parasite USA Citrus
Aloencyrtus saissetiae Parasite Nymphs Israel Citrus
Amblyseius swirskii Predator Adults/Nymphs
Anicetus anneckei Parasite
Anicetus annulatus Parasite USA Citrus
Anysis saissetiae Parasite USA Citrus
Aphycus angustifrons Parasite USA Citrus
Aprostocetus minutus Parasite
Berginus tamarisci Tunisia olives
Blastobasis lecaniella Predator Adults/Nymphs
Cheilopsis inca Parasite
Chilocorus angolensis Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Chilocorus renipustulatus Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Chilocorus sp. nr. distigma Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Chrysoperla carnea Predator Adults/Nymphs Cyprus Nerium oleander; olives
Coccidoctonus dubius Parasite New Zealand Citrus
Coccophagus anthracinus Parasite Adults/Nymphs Israel; USA Citrus
Coccophagus baldassarii Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus basalis Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; USA Citrus
Coccophagus capensis Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; Chile; Israel Citrus
Coccophagus caridei Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus ceroplastae Parasite Adults/Nymphs France; USA Citrus; olives
Coccophagus cowperi Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; Israel Citrus; shrubs
Coccophagus eleaphilus Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus hawaiiensis Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus lutescens Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Coccophagus lycimnia Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus mexicensis Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus modestus Parasite Adults/Nymphs Chile avocados; Citrus; olives
Coccophagus nigritus Parasite Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Coccophagus ochraceus Parasite Adults/Nymphs Chile; Israel avocados; Citrus; olives
Coccophagus probus Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; Israel Citrus
Coccophagus pulvinariae Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; Chile; Israel; USA Citrus; shrubs
Coccophagus rusti Parasite Adults/Nymphs California; Greece; Israel Citrus; olives
Coccophagus scutellaris Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Coccophagus semicircularis Parasite Diab et al., 2014
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Predator
Cybocephalus micans Predator Adults/Nymphs
Diversinervus cervantesi Parasite Israel Citrus
Diversinervus elegans Parasite California; France; Honduras; Italy Citrus; Hibiscus; olives
Diversinervus smithi Parasite USA Citrus
Eccopsia bodkini Predator Adults/Nymphs
Encyrtus fuliginosus Parasite USA Citrus
Encyrtus infelix Parasite California Citrus
Encyrtus lecaniorum Parasite France olives
Eublemma scitula
Eurytoma Parasite Nymphs
Exochomus flavipes Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Exochomus floralis Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Exochomus melanocephalus Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Exochomus muelleri Predator Adults/Nymphs Cyprus Nerium oleander; olives
Exochomus nigromaculatus Predator Adults/Nymphs Cyprus Nerium oleander; olives
Exochomus quadripustulatus Predator Adults/Nymphs France; Greece
Holcocera iceryaella Predator Adults/Nymphs
Lecanicillium lecanii Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Lecaniobius cockerelli Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Lecanobius cockerellii Parasite USA Citrus
Lecanobius utilis Parasite California; Chile; Peru avocados; Citrus; olives
Lounsburyia trifasciata Parasite Nymphs
Marietta mexicana Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Marietta picta Parasite Diab et al., 2014
Mataeomera coccophaga Predator Adults/Nymphs
Mataeomera dubia Predator Adults/Nymphs
Mesopeltita atrocyanea Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus bartletti Parasite Nymphs California; Corsica; Cyprus; France; Israel; Italy; Mediterranean region Citrus; olives
Metaphycus citrinus Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus flavus Parasite Cyprus; USA Citrus; Nerium oleander; olives
Metaphycus gilvus Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus inviscus Parasite Israel; USA Citrus
Metaphycus lichtensiae Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus lounsburyi Parasite Nymphs Argentina; Australia; California; Chile; Cyprus; France; Greece; Iran; Israel; Italy; Mediterranean region; New Zealand; Peru; Spain; Tunisia avocados; Citrus; Nerium oleander; olives; orchards
Metaphycus luteolus Parasite USA; USSR Citrus
Metaphycus obtusus Parasite
Metaphycus okitsuensis Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus saissetiae Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus stanleyi Parasite Nymphs
Metaphycus swirskii Parasite Nymphs Corsica; France; Israel; Italy Citrus; olives
Metaphycus tricoloricornis Parasite USA Citrus
Metaphycus zebratus Parasite California olives
Microterys flavus Parasite Italy; New Zealand; USA Citrus; olives
Microterys nietneri Parasite Nymphs
Moranila californica Parasite France olives
Myiocnema comperei
Opius concolor Parasite Italy
Prococcophagus saissetiae Parasite Adults/Nymphs Israel Citrus
Prococcophagus varius Parasite Adults/Nymphs Israel Citrus
Pseudoazya luteipes Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Pseudoazya orbigera Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Rhyzobius forestieri Predator Adults/Eggs/Nymphs Cyprus; France; Greece; Israel; New Zealand Citrus; olives
Rhyzobius ventralis Predator Adults/Nymphs California; Chile Citrus
Scutellista caerulea Parasite Eggs Australia; California; Chile; Cyprus; France; New Zealand; Peru; Spain; USA; USSR Citrus; Nerium oleander; olives; orchards
Scymnus mediterraneus Predator
Spilomicrus trifasciata Parasite California; Chile avocados; Citrus; olives
Thalassa montezumae Predator Adults/Nymphs USA Citrus
Typhlodromus pyri Predator
Vitula toboga Predator Adults/Nymphs

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page S. oleae natural enemies have been studied extensively since the beginning of the 20th century in order to find biological control agents. Over the years large numbers of natural enemies have been introduced, particularly into California and more recently into Israel (Argov and Rossler, 1993), chiefly from its area of origin in southern Africa. Most of these have been ineffective or did not become established (Lampson and Morse, 1992).

It is thought that the different physiological races of S. oleae are attacked by different parasites (Bartlett, 1960). Gill (1988) remarks that serious outbreaks of black scale often occur when ants are not controlled, because ants protect the scales from natural enemies.

The species included in the table are those that became established in at least one country. Misidentification, name changes and improvements in taxonomy make the identity of some species mentioned in earlier reports uncertain.


Top of page S. oleae is one of the most important pests of citrus in the Mediterranean Basin, Florida, California and South America (Bartlett, 1978). Gill (1988) considered it to be the most injurious soft scale in California, and the most important pest of citrus there until 1940; he also reports it as a serious pest of olives. Removal of large quantities of sap debilitate the plant and can cause wilting, desiccation of tissues and dieback. Sooty mould growth on honeydew deposits screen light and air from the leaves and impair photosynthesis, promoting premature leaf drop. Such damage reduces overall yield and quality of produce.


Top of page For authoritative identification of S. oleae it is necessary to examine slide-mounted adult females under a compound light microscope.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Examine plants closely, especially shrubs or trees, for signs of sooty mould or sticky honeydew on leaves and stems, or ants running about. Look for scales on leaves (especially the midribs on the underside), twigs, branches and fruits. Good light conditions are essential; in poor light, a powerful flashlight is helpful. A large hand lens may help recognition of 'H'-shaped dorsal ridges.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page S. oleae can be confused with Parasaissetia nigra or other species of Saissetia. However, in all stages, S. oleae has a raised 'H'-shaped ridge on the dorsum that is normally lacking in P. nigra and convex adults of S. coffeae. Mature S. oleae are more convex and less shiny than P. nigra.

S. oleae can only be separated from other species of Saissetia by examination of slide-mounted specimens under a compound light microscope (Hamon and Williams, 1984). S. oleae differs from S. neglecta in having the marginal setae only slightly frayed and tibio-tarsal scleroses normally present, whereas in S. neglecta the marginal setae are flattened and extremely frayed, and tibio-tarsal scleroses are normally absent. S. oleae differs from S. miranda in having fewer than 15 marginal setae present between the anterior and posterior stigmatic clefts on each side, whereas S. miranda has 17-20. S. oleae has only one type of tubular duct in the ventral submarginal band, whereas S. coffeae has two types in distinct zones (Williams and Watson, 1990).

Prevention and Control

Top of page

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.

Regulatory Control

Planting material of host-plant species of S. oleae should be inspected in the growing season before shipment and should be free of infestation. A phytosanitary certificate should guarantee absence of the pest from consignments of either planting material or produce.

Chemical Control

The intermittent feeding habits and waxy dorsal surface of S. oleae make it difficult to control with pesticides. Use of insecticides is likely to kill any parasitoids and make biological control ineffective. In addition, ornamental plants may be adversely affected by insecticides (Copland and Ibrahim, 1985).

Biological Control

As an introduced pest in most of the countries where it occurs, S. oleae is particularly suitable for classical biological control. However, ants attracted to the scales by honeydew may deter natural enemies from attacking them. The biological control of S. oleae in California is discussed by Bartlett (1978).

Biological control of S. oleae in Florida is discussed by Browning (1994), who reports that the most important natural enemy of Saissetia species there is Scutellista caerulea. However, biological control is not completely effective because problems in identifying Saissetia species have resulted in unsuccessful introductions of parasitoids that were inappropriate to the target pest species. S. oleae is less important on citrus than S. neglecta in Florida.

The following information is from Bartlett (1978). Numerous natural enemies have been introduced to California but relatively few species are important control agents for S. oleae there now. In coastal areas, Metaphycus helvolus is a successful control agent, but inland it does not prosper because of intolerance of the colder winters. In these areas, control by M. lounsburyi, Scutellista caerulea and Coccophagus lycimnia is rather less successful. M. lounsburyi does best in areas where the scale is bivoltine, as in univoltine scale populations there is a severe shortage of hosts at an appropriate stage for 7 months of the year.

From California, Metaphycus helvolus has been introduced successfully to Greece, Crete and Iran to control S. oleae. This parasitoid is also the most effective introduced natural enemy of the scale in Chile.

The situation in California has changed recently with the introduction of M. bartletti in 1986. M. bartletti has now become the most important control agent in the coastal region. Likewise when M. bartletti was introduced into European countries and Israel it displaced M. helvolus and became the most effective parasitoid (Lampson and Morse, 1992; Argov and Rossler, 1993).

In Australia, control of S. oleae is mainly by Metaphycus lounsburyi, Scutellista caerulea, M. helvolus and the native ladybird, Rhyzobius forestieri. Details of the life history of Scutellista caerulea are given by Jadhav and Ajri (1984).


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Albuquerque FAde; Pattaro FC; Borges LM; Lima RS; Zabini AV, 2002. Insects associated to Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra L.) in the region of Maringá, PR. (Insetos associados à cultura da aceroleira (Malpighia glabra L.) na região de Maringá, Estado do Paraná.) Acta Scientiarum, 24(5):1245-1249.

Argov Y; Rossler Y, 1993. Biological control of the Mediterranean black scale, Saissetia oleae (Hom.: Coccidae) in Israel. Entomophaga, 38(1):89-100

Bartlett BR, 1960. Biological races of the black scale, Saissetia oleae, and their specific parasites. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 53:383-385.

Ben-Dov Y, 1993. A systematic catalogue of the soft scale insects of the world (Homoptera: Coccoidea: Coccidae) with data on geographical distribution, host plants, biology and economic importance. Gainesville, USA: Sandhill Crane Press, Inc., 536 pp.

Blumberg D; Swirsky E, 1977. Mass breeding of two species of Saissetia (Hom.: Coccidae) for propogation of their parasitoids. Entomophaga, 22:147-150.

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