An invasion of insect pests that are affecting avocado plantations has been detected in the archipelago of Hawaii. The insect was first discovered in December in Pearl City, on Oahu, and then spotted on the islands of Hawaii and Maui, as reported by the State Department of Agriculture. Department authorities have not confirmed the presence of the plague in Kauai.
The plague has also been detected in plants for sale in stores in Maui, which have been destroyed or otherwise taken care of, said department officials.
Department experts collaborated with the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources - Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Hawaii to identify the pest. The insect affecting the avocado crops, whose scientific name is Pseudacysta perseae, feeds on the plant's leaves by extracting nutrients and gradually destroys the plants, reducing fruit production, according to experts. However, it does not feed on the avocado itself.
The insect also feeds on Persea borbonia plants and camphor trees in the continental United States. These insects can also be found in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Portugal.
Adult avocado lace bugs have black heads and their bodies are mostly black. They also have a black stripe, which is similar to lace fabric, that crosses their wings. The insect can vary in color, from red to dark brown and black.
Any possible infestation must be reported to the Department of Agriculture's Plant Pest Control Branch.