Ceroplastes ceriferus This data sheet is based on a cpc data sheet Identity Name

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Data Sheets on Pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests

Ceroplastes ceriferus
This data sheet is based on a CPC data sheet


Name: Ceroplastes ceriferus (Fabricius, 1798)

Synonyms: Ceroplastes australiae Walker, 1852
Ceroplastes cerifera (Fabricius) Gill, 1988
Ceroplastes ceriferens (Anderson) De Lotto, 1965
Ceroplastes ceriferus (Anderson) Signoret, 1869
Ceroplastes vayssierei Mahdihassan, 1933
Coccus (Ceroplastes) chilensis Gray, 1828
Coccus ceriferus Fabricius, 1798
Columnea cerifera (Fabricius) Targioni Tozzetti, 1866
Columnea chilensis (Gray) Targioni Tozzetti, 1866
Gascardia cerifera (Anderson)
Lacca alba Signoret; Signoret, 1869

Taxonomic position: Insecta: Hemiptera: Coccidae

Notes on taxonomy and nomenclature: C. ceriferus, commonly known as the Indian wax scale, was originally described by Fabricius in 1798 from specimens collected in India, probably from Maytenus emarginatus. Signoret (1869) erroneously ascribed the authorship of C. ceriferus to Anderson which was followed by subsequent workers. De Lotto (1971) presented a critical account on the nomenclature and proved that the authorship should be credited to Fabricius and not to Anderson. The nomenclature and synonyms are discussed in detail by Ben-Dov (1993)

Common name:

English: Indian wax scale, Indian white wax scale, Japanese wax scale

Germany: Indische wachs-schildlaus

USA: Chinese wax scale, Mexican wax scale

Bayer computer code: CERPCE

EPPO list:

EU Annex designation: No status.


C. ceriferus is highly polyphagous, attacking more than 122 plant species placed in 46 families (Kosztarab, 1996). It attacks a wide range of crops, mostly fruit crops and ornamentals, including crab-apple, avocado, citrus, coffee, holly, Japanese maple, Japanese persimmon, jujube, longan, mango, mulberry, plum, rambutan, spindle and tea (see Ben-Dov, 1993)


Primary hosts: Camellia sinensis (tea), Populus deltoides (black poplar of eastern North America)

Secondary hosts: Abutilon indicum (country mallow), Acer palmatum (Japanese maple), Amaranthus (grain amaranth), Artemisia (wormwoods), Berberis (barberries), Betula pendula (common birch), Buxus sempervirens (box), Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese quince), Citrus, Coffea (coffee), Crataegus (hawthorns), Cucurbita (ornamental gourd), Deutzia, Dimocarpus longan (longan tree), Diospyros kaki (oriental persimmon), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus tree), Eugenia, Euonymus (spindle trees), Fatsia japonica (Japanese aralia), Ficus, Gardenia, Ilex (Holly), Lagerstroemia indica, Magnolia, Malus sylvestris (crab-apple tree), Mangifera indica (mango), Morus alba (mora), Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan), Persea, Persea americana (avocado), Piper (pepper), Pittosporum, Platanus (planes), Podocarpus, Prunus (stone fruit), Pteridium esculentum, Pyracantha coccinea (Scarlet firethorn), Rhododendron (Azalea), Rhus succedanea, Salix (willow), Tamarix, Vaccinium arboreum (Farkleberry), Viburnum, Ziziphus jujuba (common jujube)

Geographical distribution

EPPO region:

Italy (reported for the first time in 2001 in Lombardia and Veneto on various ornamentals). C. ceriferus has been intercepted by the Netherlands in 1999 and 2000, on Ficus and Podocarpus from Taiwan.

Asia: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.

Africa: Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda.

North America: Mexico, USA (present in many states)

Central & South America, Caribbean: Brazil, Chile, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands.

Oceania: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu

EU: Present


In north-eastern North America, C. ceriferus has one generation a year and overwinters as adult females. It is parthenogenetic and during April to June, each female produces 1000 or more eggs, which hatch after 2 or 3 weeks. The females have three nymphal stages and adults are found in late summer and early autumn (Kosztarab, 1996). Only the first instars are capable of locomotion because they seek out a suitable feeding site. Other stages are sessile. In northern Guizhou, China, C. ceriferus overwinters as a first instar and becomes active in the following April. Adults appear in July and early August and produce eggs in August. The eggs hatch in early September to mid October (Lai, 1993). Males have been reported in Japan (Kuwana, 1923) and the USA (Smith et al., 1971).

Itioka and Inoue (1991) found that C. ceriferus nymphs on citrus significantly preferred to settle on 1- and 2-year-old twigs rather than on new and 3-year-old twigs. The survival rate on the preferred twigs was significantly higher than on the 3-year-old twigs, but slightly lower than on the new twigs. The most important mortality factor was growth cessation which is believed to be related to food quality. Natural enemies were minor mortality factors.

Detection and identification


Infestations of C. ceriferus occur on the foliage, stems and branches. This results in reduced vigour and general debility of the host plant. Heavy infestations may cause chlorotic spotting on the leaves (which may be shed prematurely), dieback of stems and wilting. On poplar, discoloration of the bark occurs at the feeding site, producing irregular patches about 1 cm in diameter (Sivaramakrishnan, 1986). The infested bark peels off. In addition to the direct feeding damage, the honeydew deposited on the leaves and fruit serves as a medium for the growth of black sooty moulds. The sooty mould results in a reduction of photosynthetic area and lowers the market value of ornamental plants and produce.


In life, mature adult females of C. ceriferus are covered with thick, white, amorphous wax; hemispherical, normally with an anteriorly projecting horn of wax and up to 12 mm in length and 10 mm in width. Immature females and males are illustrated by Gimpel et al. (1974).

Authoritative identification involves detailed microscopic examination of slide-mounted teneral adult females. Morphological descriptions and illustrations of the adult female are given by De Lotto (1971), Gimpel et al. (1974), Hamon and Williams (1984), Williams and Watson (1990), Tang (1991) and Kosztarab (1996). The adult male is described and illustrated by Gimpel et al. (1974). A key to Ceroplastes species that occur in north-eastern North America is given by Kosztarab (1996), in Florida (USA) by Hamon and Williams (1984), in the tropical South Pacific by Williams and Watson (1990), in China by Tang (1991) and in Japan by Kawai (1980).

C. ceriferus should be distinguished from the closely related C. pseudoceriferus which occurs in Asia. C. ceriferus has about 10 marginal setae between the anterior stigmatic setae and about three marginal setae between the anterior and posterior stigmatic setae, whereas C. pseudoceriferus has about 40 and 10 marginal setae, respectively (Gimpel et al., 1974).

Detection and inspection methods

Heavy infestations are conspicuous because of the white adult females which contrast in colour with the host plant. The foliage, fruit and stems of the plant become covered in sticky honeydew which serves as a medium for black sooty moulds.

Means of movement and dispersal

Like other soft scales, the first instar is the main dispersal stage of C. ceriferus; it can be naturally dispersed by wind and animals. All stages may be carried on consignments of plant material and produce.

Pest significance

Economic impact

C. ceriferus is an important pest of ornamental plants in North America because it attacks such a wide variety of species and damaging populations can build up rapidly (Kosztarab, 1996). The appearance of the plant is ruined, not only because of the presence of large numbers of conspicuous waxy scales, but also because of the sooty mould which grows on the copious quantities of honeydew excreted by the insects. Sooty mould blocks light and air from the leaves and impairs photosynthesis. C. ceriferus is also a pest of tea in northern Guizhou, China (Lai, 1993), of poplars in Karnataka, India (Sivaramakrishnan, 1986) and a minor pest of avocado in Queensland, Australia (Smith, 1973).


Application of quinalphos and phoxim or methamidophos resulted in 95% control of C. ceriferus on tea in China (Lai, 1993). Carbofuran was found to be the most effective granular systemic insecticide for control of C. ceriferus on camellia in the USA (Nash, 1973).

Phytosanitary risk

All life stages may be carried on consignments of plant material and produce. C. ceriferus is often injurious to crops and ornamental plants, especially when introduced into new geographical areas without natural enemies.

Phytosanitary measures

To be completed after PRM



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.

De Lotto G, 1971. On some genera and species of wax scales (Homoptera: Coccidae). Journal of Natural History, 5(2):133-153.

Gimpel WF, Miller DR, Davidson JA, 1974. A systematic revision of the wax scales, genus Ceroplastes, in the United States (Homoptera; Coccoidea; Coccidae). Maryland, USA: University of Maryland, Agricultural Experiment Station, Miscellaneous Publication 841.

Hamon AB, Williams ML, 1984. The soft scale insects of Florida (Homoptera: Coccoidea: Coccidae). Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas, 11:1-94.

Itioka T, Inoue T, 1991. Settling-site selection and survival of two scale insects, Ceroplastes rubens and C. ceriferus, on citrus trees. Researches on Population Ecology, 33(1):69-85.

Kawai S, 1980. Scale Insects of Japan in Colours. Tokyo, Japan: National Agriculture Education Association.

Kosztarab M, 1996. Scale Insects of North Eastern North America: identification, biology, and distribution. Martinsville, USA: Virginia Museum of Natural History.

Kuwana SI, 1923. Descriptions and biology of new or little-known coccids from Japan. Department of Agriculture of Commercial Importance. Plant Quarantine Bulletin, 3:1-67.

Lai CB, 1993. Study on the bionomics of Ceroplastes ceriferus Anderson in tea gardens and its control. Entomological Knowledge, 30(6):337-338.

Nash RF, 1973. Control of the peony scale, Pseudaonidia paeoniae, and a wax scale, Ceroplastes ceriferus, with granular systemic insecticides on Camellia japonica. Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society, 8(2):149-151; 3 ref.

Signoret V, 1869. Essai sur les cochenilles ou gallinsectes (Homoptères - Coccides) 2e partie. Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France (serie 4), 8:829-876.

Sivaramakrishnan VR, 1986. Ceroplastes ceriferus Anderson (Homoptera: Coccidae) - a new pest of poplars. Indian Journal of Forestry, 9(4):353-354.

Smith D, 1973. Insect pests of avocados. Queensland Agricultural Journal, 99(12):645-653.

Smith FF, Oba AK, McComb CW, Weidhass JA, 1971. Development and control of a wax-scale, Ceroplastes ceriferus. Journal of Economic Entomology, 64:889-893.

Tang FT, 1991. The Coccidae of China. Taiyuan, China: Shanxi United Universities Press.

Williams DJ, Watson GW, 1990. The scale insects of the tropical South Pacific region. Part 3: the soft scales (Coccidae) and other families. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, 267 pp.

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