Scale is an interesting insect, the females rarely have
legs (with the exception of some soft-bodied species) and do not have
wings. The males, on the other hand, resemble gnats though do not have
mouthparts and therefore only live for a couple of days in their adult
stage. The nymph stage and adult females feed on the sap from the plant,
as they do this, honeydew is secreted and may attract other pest such
as ants or wasps. The honeydew may also produce a fungi called sooty mold.
Species of scale varies widely in their physical appearance and chances are you have come in contact with scale before without knowing
they were insects. Scale also affects the plants they attack differently - some plants seem unaffected while others will drop their leaves
in reaction to an attack.
Larger of the two groups (may reach 1/2 inch in size)
Uses a waxy coating which is attached to it's body for protection
Usually found on underside of leaves and stems
Once they find an area to feed from, they form the hard shell by bodily secretions and remain on the plant
Usually found on lower leaves and stems
Do not secrete honeydew though will kill plant cells around feeding location
Covered in a white or light gray with a cotton or feather appearance
Able to move throughout their entire life
Feeds on all plant parts
Trees and shrubs Attacked:
Will attack nearly all trees, shrubs and house plants
Damage to look for :
Scale varies widely in appearance, look for raised areas on the plant's stem or leaf (may be rough, smooth, soft, hard, hairy, etc)
Wilting or yellowing of leaves
Other sweet-loving pest attracted to your plant
What homeowners can do:
The best time to treat for these pest is during the nymph stage (early summer - after hatching or birth occurs)
Horticulture oil mixed with soap and water can control these pest, though be careful to mix at the correct rate as too much soap can and will damage plants.
Soil injections may be applied so the adult stage (which is covered in the protective coating) will be targeted as they feed
Applying foliage spray during the nymph stage will help control these pest
Manually pick the scale from the plant and destroy it. Dead scale is dry and crunchy (for lack of a better term), while live scale is soft and will have a level of flexibility to the shell
Lady bugs feed on these pest - promote lady bug activity in your lawn.
If you believe your trees or shrubs have insect activity, call Grounds Services today for a no-obligations
visit at 419-536-4344.