Q:Will the biocontrol insects kill my melaleuca?

A: The biological control agents were carefully selected to feed on melaleuca in such a way that doesn't kill the trees, but does slow down growth and seed production so the trees don't spread any further. Feeding damage may kill seedlings and smaller trees over time, but care was taken to select agents that would not kill mature trees, and so far they are behaving as expected.

There is, however, another insect feeding on melaleuca in some areas, notably Broward and Palm Beach Counties. This other insect is an exotic invasive pest like melaleuca, and is thought to have been accidentally introduced on imported ornamental plants. It is lobate lac scale and it feeds on hundreds of plant species, including melaleuca, with often deadly effect. It is an inconspicuous brown, bow-tie shaped bump on twigs and branches. Like many scales it secretes honeydew which serves as food for black sooty mold. Signs of lobate lac scale infestation are leaf drop and branch dieback, black sooty mold on lower leaves and branches and on understory vegetation.