The ‘little vampire‘ first detected at Moanalua Gardens in Honolulu

No known predators for Lobate Lac Scale

The young Lobate Lac Scale looks like a tiny red dot to the naked eye. That tiny red dot comes with a big appetite.

“It was immediately identified as a potential serious problem,” said Darcy Oishi, Biological Control Section chief for the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Pest Control Branch.

He said the Lobate Lac Scale creates a protective dome over itself, sometimes two, and then hunkers down for a feast.

“As it feeds it sucks on the juices of the plant,” he said.

It then spits out what is called a “honey dew,” which then turns into black mold.

“Actually this whole branch is covered with sooty mold,” he told KITV reporter Lara Yamada, as they looked at an Ulei bush, covered with the black stuff.

Oishi equated it to a layer of soot covering the solar panels on a house, which of course, doesn’t work well without sunlight.

“So, you have multiple problems and that reduces the plant’s overall health, he said.

Groundskeepers told Oishi an 80-year-old banyan tree that was cut down over the weekend was healthy in August.

But by October there were whole big branches that were dead, and the tree was removed.

Right next to the banyan tree sits the famous Hitachi Tree, featured in commercials around the world.

Oishi said it appears the famous monkey pod tree has not been infected so far.

New bee research details harm from insecticide

A pitched battle about why bee populations around the world are declining so rapidly has been joined by two new studies pointing directly at the harm from insecticides most commonly used by grain, cotton, bean and vegetable farmers.

Pesticides were an early suspect, but many additional factors appear to be at play — including a relatively new invasive mite that kills bees in their hives, loss of open land for foraging, and the stresses on honeybee colonies caused by moving them from site to site for agricultural pollinating.

The new bee research, some of the most extensive done involving complex field studies rather than simpler laboratory work, found that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides did not kill the bees directly, but changed their behavior in harmful ways. In particular, the insecticide made the honeybees and bumblebees somewhat less able to forage for food and return with it to their hives.

While the authors of the studies published Thursday in the journal Science do not conclude that the pesticides are the sole cause of the American and international decline in bees or the more immediate and worrisome phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, they say that the omnipresent chemicals have a clearly harmful effect on beehives.