During the growing season, inspect the underside of leaves and stem joints for signs of scales. While this can worry gardeners, these growths are harmless, although may occasionally indicate a lack of vigour in the affected plant. Then, carefully remove the root ball from the pot and dispose of all soil. One of the best-known in this family is Coccus viridis, also known as coffee scale or green scale. The best time for euonymus scale treatment is when they’re in their crawler stage, before they grow their protective shells. Be sure to dispose of the contaminated plant parts in the trash, not compost. Make any pruning cuts slightly angled and next to a junction with another branch or main stem. This prevention method will avoid an infestation from getting out of control. If you’ve got a scale infestation, you’ll notice brown shell-like scales stuck to the plant. So, as well as noticing unusually tan-colored lumps on plants, the stems and leaves may be sticky and start turning black. Scale insects on plants look like small brown or cream-colored bumps that are easily mistaken for plant growth. There are all sorts of scale insects that feed on landscape trees and shrubs here in our area. The bugs might never move from that spot. Crepe myrtle scale arrived here a few years ago as an accidental import from Asia. 8764 Views Save Print Email. Both use long, needle-like mouthparts to suck out sap from the host tree or plant.Characteristics of Soft Scales 1. You could inadvertently bring in all sorts of plant pests—scales included—on cut garden flowers or fresh produce from the store. But because there is generally no movement through their life cycle, identifying scale insects is tricky. They sort of hop, then fly off. The soapy liquid helps to break down the scales coating. Different varieties of scale can be white, black, orange, or a color that blends in with the plant's coloring, making them even more difficult to detect. For larger infestation dip a cloth in rubbing alcohol and wipe the affected leaves or stems. After an hour or two wash the plant with a damp cloth to reduce the chance of the soap damaging the plant. The sweet gluey liquid causes black sooty mold growths. Identifying scale insects on houseplants requires looking for unusual bumpy growth on stems and the underside of leaves. The females lay eggs, which are hidden under their bodies. This step is vital to prevent getting scale bugs or other houseplant pests infesting your houseplants. I've never been able to catch one. When honeydew falls from a tree, leaves shouldbe inspected for live soft scales or mealybugs. Many look like the scale of a fish or lizard, while others can even appear fluffy. What is White Prunicola Scale? But other ways that scale insects get into the house and infest plants are from using contaminated soil, reusing an unsterilized pot, or keeping houseplants outside in the summer. Don’t have a shell, instead they secrete a cotton-like or waxy substance over their bodies for protection 5. However, because they only live for a few days, you will rarely see these pests on plants. Neem oil is a natural insecticide to get rid of scaly houseplant pests. Lichens are composed of a fungus and green or blue-green algae. Never apply white oil when the temperature is 30 degrees or more. Step 1, Look for adult scales. Soft Scales Found on Trees and Shrubs - The following are examples of commonly found scale insects that infest deciduous, broadleaf, and evergreen plants. Shake well and spray liberally on all infested plant parts to kill scale bugs. Scales can do a lot of damage to houseplants and outdoor plants. Scale are small sap-sucking insects. Euonymus scale – Look for euonymus scale on leaves and stems of Euonymus spp. A little detective work -- noting the size and shape of the spots, the type of shrub they are on, and whether the spots are accompanied by any other clues -- can pay off in a correct diagnosis. Looking at pictures of scale bugs, recognizing them as insects can be tricky. If you notice any scale bugs, soak a cotton swab in 70% alcohol and apply directly to the bugs to kill them instantly. Remember, if you notice one plant with a scale infestation, isolate it immediately from other plants to avoid scales making their way to other plants. Thoroughly cover the infested plant, making sure you completely reach leaf undersides, twigs and other parts of the plant infested with scales. Fill 1 quart (1 l) spray bottle with lukewarm water and add 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap or Castile soap. Examples of trees and shrubs that can become infested with scale are arborvitae, azalea, birch, boxelder, euonymus, honeylocust, juniper, magnolia, oak, pine, yew, and many others. Scales are usually off-white, tan or brown but can also be other colors. If you’ve been noticing white patches on your trees and shrubs it could be a case of White Prunicola Scale (Pseudaulacaspis prunicola). Some scales can also cause bark to crack and leave blemishes on fruit where they feed. The wax covers the insects which feed on the sap. To get rid of scales on plant, dab a cotton swab in 70% isopropyl alcohol and apply to scale insects to kill them. Algae, lichens and moss often form green or grey, powdery or mossy, crusty growths on the stems, branches and trunks of trees and shrubs. The pesky scale bugs bite into plants to feed on the sap, resulting in discolored leaves, leaf drop and stunted plant growth. One type of scale that attacks euonymus shrubs (especially Euonymus japonica) is the euonymus scale ( Unaspis euonymi ). Water the infested shrubs deeply and infrequently during extended dry spells. The first step when noticing scale infestation on a plant is to isolate it and remove the affected parts. Crawlers—the tiny scale bugs that emerge from eggs—are most active in spring and summer. Scales are crawling insects that can’t fly, and they infest plants by moving from one to another. It is often found on weakened plants. The most common scale insects that infest maple trees are the armored varieties oystershell scale and scurfy scale, as well as the soft varieties cottony maple scale and lecanium scale. but also pachysandra, hollies, and camellias. Check these sticky tape bands regularly and replace them with fresh tape once per week. Put the roots under running water to get rid of any contaminated soil. Neem oil spray is an effective way to kill scale insects on plant. This usually happens in spring to early summer. Discover how to get rid of bugs in houseplants (including identification and pictures). They do not secrete honeydew.Soft â€“ Secrete a waxy film (up to 1/2 inch long) that is part of the body. Tea scale insects are about the size of a hyphen, appear slightly fuzzy and are white or brown. Introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs, beetles, and lacewings can help control scale populations. If using the same pot, thoroughly wash it with hot soapy water to sterilize it. I have seen some small snow white bugs fly out of it a few times, but very seldom. Most types of scale insects have oval-shaped bodies. Some types of soft scales include lec… A Mature female scale produces eggs that hatch into yellowish nymphs (first instar) that crawl to find a place on the plant and then stays there feeding into adulthood. What are the best ways to eliminate scale on plants naturally? Here are a few telltale signs of scale problems: Spraying a natural neem oil solution on houseplants every four weeks can help prevent scale bugs from developing. Produce a sugary liquid called honeydew 2. To get rid of scale on plants, mix two teaspoons of organic neem oil and a teaspoon of Castile soap with a 1 quart (1 l) of lukewarm water. Although scale insects don’t seem to move, the tiny, newly-hatched nymphs can infest other nearby plants. Most common is white wax scale, seen as large patches of white waxy material along the stems and shoots. Most scale insects are very small, usually ranging in size from 1/16 to 1/8 inch long. Since then, it spread rapidly. The cottony cushioned scale in this image has a soft furry covering. Scales are small bugs in the insect order Hemiptera. Whenthe bump itself can be squashed it is likely to be some othertype of scale. Mealybugs on Plants: Effective Ways to Kill These White Bugs, Homemade Potting Soil: 8 Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipes, Crape Myrtle: Care and Plant Growing Guide (With Pictures), Great Mulch Alternatives (Also Cheap or Free) - Including Rock vs. Mulch, Scale on Plants: How to Kill Scale Bugs (Scale Insects), Common Houseplant Pests: Types, Identification, and Control, Effective Ways to Kill Mealybugs on Plants, Sticky honeydew on stems or undersides of leaves, New, unusual growth on plants that exude fluid when squashed, Ants appearing on your plants as they are attracted to honeydew. Check plants for live scale infestations. Applying neem oil to plant foliage breaks the life cycle of scale. You apply it when it's nice and calm and overcast. Prune off branches touching the ground or nearby structures to force ants up the main stem where they are trapped. Shake well and spray liberally on all infested plant parts to kill scale bugs. Healthy plants that are not under water stress can better withstand and recover from scale feeding. Thanks for your advice about white scale. There are more than 25 species of scale insect found in British Gardens. The white stuff just washes off easily with a water hose. Don’t panic when you find flaky gray, green, white or yellow substances, known as lichens, on the trunk or branches of your trees and shrubs. If left untreated, scales can eventually cause plant death. Soap spray is a common way to get rid of scale infestation. There are many suitable alternatives to toxic pesticides to get rid of scale insects. Because nymphs can be hard to spot, you’ll need to use natural oil or soap sprays to debug the rest of your plant. Continue changing the double-sided tape and observing crawler numbers. These pests typically appear in small numbers and reproduce rapidly. You apply it on woody plants - things like trees shrubs palms bamboo and cycads. White scale covers are found on green needles. Look for white scale covers (white stuff) on the trunks and branches. You use white oil to control sap-sucking pests - things like mealybug aphid and scale. Soft scales measure up to 1/4 inch across; they're usually more rounded than armored scales, and the surface of the scale is its body wall. The residual effect of neem oil means that the natural homemade scale spray continues working after applying it. Scale insects do damage to plants by their mouths, which pierce plant tissue and suck sap. There are currently around 8000 known species of scale insects. Scale life cycle starts as an egg before going through 2 growth stages and then becoming an adult. As long as there is something to feast on, the beneficial insects will stick around. If soft scales are present on the shrub and producing a large quantity of honeydew that is attracting ants, plan to control the ants, because they protect the scales from their natural enemies. Angela Ryczkowski is a professional writer who has served as a greenhouse manager and certified wildland firefighter. Related: Common Houseplant Pests: Types, Identification, and Control. They are a major pest of camellias and some hollies. What can you do to minimize the risk of scale insects infesting your prized houseplants? So, always inspect new plants for signs of an infestation before bringing into your house. Scale insects include many species that range in color and size and look like round bumps on the plant. This white waxy covering can protect them against many forms of insecticide, although any oily insecticide will likely stay on long enough to have effect. Make sure shrubs receive an inch of water weekly through rainfall and supplemental irrigation, or water whenever soil about 3 inches below the soil surface near the shrub feels dry to the touch. These insects can inhabit over 100 species of plants and have worldwide distribution. Blend 5 tablespoons of an ultra-fine horticultural oil with a gallon of water, and use a garden sprayer to thoroughly spray the infested plants once you observe a decline in the number of scales trapped. Scales are easier to manage if you catch them early. It’s during their adult stage when scale bugs do the most damage. Fill 1 quart (1 l) spray bottle with lukewarm water and add 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap or Castile soap. One of the advantages of neem oil is that it’s an excellent preventative control method for keeping scale away from your plants. Three types of scale can affect houseplants: The pink wax scale in this picture is a types of soft scale insect. Scales can infest plant soil so repotting may be necessary. There are two main groups of tree scale—soft and armored (hard). The female insects stay at the same spot, sucking the plant’s sap. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Each species has a different host range and life cycle. Using beneficial bugs to prevent scale insects is more useful for controlling scales on outdoor plants in your yard than preventing scale bugs on houseplants. They feed by sucking sap and some can weaken host plants, many excrete a sticky substance (honeydew), which allows the growth of sooty moulds. After successfully getting rid of scale insects from houseplants, it’s crucial to avoid them returning. Just make sure that they are natural products from organic sources to prevent toxic chemicals in your home. Adult scale insects are usually covered in waxy shell-like cover. I … Before repotting your infested houseplant, ensure you kill off all traces of scales on the plant. Scale. A common way to identify scales plant insects is by the damage the pesky bugs cause. Wrap several branches that are infested with scales tightly with narrow bands of double-sided sticky tape in late winter or early spring. The adults do not move.Step 2, Identify ‘crawlers’. This is an armored type of scale that comes in two colors: Males are white and females are brown. Male covers resemble female covers but are smaller. There may be evidence of honeydew and sooty mold if your plant has scales. A population of scale on euonymus shrubs can go through to 2 to 3 generations in a single summer. Dip a clean sponge in soapy water and wipe down both sides of the plant leaves and stems to get rid of scales. Most of them have a smooth, flat covering but some may look cottony or fluffy. When scales reach adulthood, they don’t move on plants, making them hard to identify. What is White Peach Scale White peach scale insects (Pseudaulacaspis pentagona) are tiny armored bugs which consume sap and infest the bark, leaves, and fruit of trees such as peach, cherry and persimmon. Plan to spray the shrub once the number of crawlers trapped begins to decline. Prune off portions of the shrub that are heavily infested with scales if the scales are largely concentrated on a limited number of branches. Replace your plant in the pot and fill it with fresh soil. White spots on the leaves of your shrubs are not caused by any one pest or disease; they can indicate a number of conditions. When a soft body is beneatha cover, the plant is likely to have live armored scales. 1) Azalea bark scale, Eriococcus azalea A scale infestation is indicated by sooty mold on leaves, yellowing of leaves, and twig dieback. If you have a Cherry Tree, Cherry Laurel, Red Twig Dogwood, Privet, Lilac, or Euonymus in your landscaping, you should learn about White Prunicola Scale. They are mainly on my azalias. In most cases, they are able to move short distances (but rarely do) and produce … Soap spray kills scale insects on plants, vegetables and fruit trees. This is an armored scale that sucks out cell contents. Euonymus scale treatment is a game of timing. Armored scales measure less than 1/8 inch across and have a flattened cover over their bodies. These pests generally appear on plants as immobile bumps with no recognizable body parts. Florida wax scales look like waxy, white domes about the size of a nail head and occur on a wide variety of plants. Adult males are rarely seen and are tiny, delicate, white to yellow insects with one pair of wings and a pair of long antennae. The adult scale lays up to 1000 eggs that hatch into crawlers. Residents who have these shrubs should check them periodically for leaf yellowing and white spots on lower branches. Scales on houseplants often come from new plants you bring into your home. Other signs of damage on scale-infested plants are yellow leaves, brown leaves, leaf drop, and dead foliage or stems. It is definitely not mealy bugs, white flies, aphids, or scale. Scale insects are destructive houseplant pests that look like small bumps on plant stems and leaves. I have very minute white bugs on my Euonymus. The males look more like tiny flies. The life cycle of scales starts as an egg before going through two growth stages (instars) and maturing as adults. White prunicola scale is a fairly common problem on cherry laurels. The scales can be tiny pests, measuring 2 mm, or larger bugs up to 5 mm in diameter. Some scale species lack males and the females reproduce without mating. White prunicola scale – Feeding by heavy infestations of this insect can cause leaf yellowing and dieback. Scale insects may appear as small, flattened white, yellow or brown 'discs' or 'blobs', on stems or on the underside of leaves near the veins. I knocked off most of the scale with my hose sprayer, followed by spraying with a product called “Eight.” I then fertilized the plant with a granular product. In this guide to scale insect control, you will find out how to get rid of these plant-destroying bugs on houseplants and outdoor plants. Looking closely, you will also see a sticky liquid on the round shiny bodies that the sap-sucking bugs use as protection. Fill in a spray bottle, shake well, and liberally spray all affected parts of your plant to kill the scale bugs. If you don’t want to make a homemade neem oil spray, you can buy commercial oil sprays for scale bug removal. There are 8,000 species of scale bugs. Use regularly on your plant until all traces of scale or other houseplant pests have gone for good. What should you look out for when inspecting plants for scale pests? Check the plant carefully for tiny gray-to-pink, segmented insects with a white coating that appears powdery or cottony. Scales secrete a sticky substance called honeydew on the plant. One of my Crepe Myrtles (4′ high, raised from an Audubon sapling) had a heavy dose of white scale, accompanied by ants. White Prunicola Scale is an armored scale, thought to have originated in China or Japan, that feeds on the fluids/sap in trees and shrubs. Scale insects can be divided into two groups:Armored (Hard) – Secrete a hard protective covering (1/8 inch long) over themselves, which is not attached to the body. During this time, brown or white scales appear on the bugs for protection. Other species appear as small, white, waxy blotches or … The adult female covers are 1/8 inch (3 mm) long white, oystershell-shaped and only found on needles. Some types of scale insects excrete what’s called ‘honeydew’ (clearly not the delicious melon!). Their name comes from the scale-like waxy covering that many species of scale insects have. Inspect the tape closely using a hand lens, if possible; look for the crawlers, which get trapped on the tape and look like yellow or orange specks. Usually larger than armored scales 3. These predatory insects feed on scale eggs and larvae and can stop more pests appearing on plants. Soapy water also helps to remove honeydew and black sooty mold caused by scale bugs. The most apparent damage that scale causes on houseplants is weak or stunted growth. According to the University of California, tiny scale insects can get into a home on the wind through open windows. Before eliminating scale bugs from houseplants, you need to isolate the diseased plants from other plants to stop further infestation. It is best to avoid synthetic pesticides to get rid of scales as the bugs quickly build up resistance. It’s easy to spot. You can also use a liquid soap solution to kill scale bugs on plants. These growths do not damage the plant, but may indicate your tree and shrub needs a bit of TLC. Their shiny oval bodies attach to plant stems or leaves. Healthy shrubs can usually withstand some amount of scale feeding, but a heavy infestation can force leaves to wilt, turn yellow and drop prematurely. To be effective in eradicating scale bugs, spraying a neem oil solution all over the plant is necessary. Male scale insects look entirely different from female scale bugs. Scale (or armored scale) describes a common family of insects that feed on various shrubs and trees. Read on to find out. Do not apply horticultural oil within 30 days of a sulfur application; avoid applications on drought-stressed plants, and on windy days or when temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees F. Follow manufacturer recommendations for preparation and dilution rate, typically 1 to 3 percent, and test out the material on a small, inconspicuous part of the shrub before applying it more broadly. As scale bugs can infect houseplant soil, it is vital to replace potting soil to ensure you eliminate scale insects from your plants and to make sure they don’t return. Heavily infested plants are often covered with small, disklike or waxy coverings, and underneath each covering is the scale organism feeding on the juices of the plant. The largely immobile nature of scales and their protective covering makes chemical control challenging. Scale insects feed on shrubs' sap using their long, piercing mouthparts, causing twig and branch dieback and sometimes killing the plants. Euonymus scale, on the other hand, attacks euonymus and resembles tea scale. Spray the plant as often as necessary until your plant is … Hello. Some scales change greatly in appearance as they grow, and some species have males and females that differ in shape, size, and color. It’s best to prune the affected part for heavily-infested plants to remove all traces of scale bugs altogether. Coffee scale is a major agricultural pest in coffee crops. The scale insects that most gardeners are familiar with are the adult females. Researchers from Colorado State University say that neem oil is a type of horticultural oil, useful for scale insect control. Do not apply broad-spectrum, persistent pesticides to attempt to control scale insects or other pests, as these chemicals will injure the populations of beneficial scale predators and parasites. But it doesn’t matter how scales get into your home, if you’ve got problems with a scale bug infestation, then getting rid of them fast is your top priority. Scale insects also secrete a sticky liquid called honeydew, which promotes the fungal disease black sooty mold. The hard scale lives and feeds under this spherical armor and does not move about the plant. The alcohol solution helps to breakdown the bug’s protective waxy layer, causing them to dehydrate and die. (1). Pruning is just one part of your battle to remove all signs of scale insects. A nursery told me it was scale and sold me some oil spray to use. Properly timing any sprays for when the scales are in their active crawler stage is important. Tweet. Soap spray is a common way to get rid of scale infestation. Scales often come from the outdoors as well as from new infested houseplants. When the minuscule insects hatch, they crawl to another place on the plant. Even though the bugs don’t look like they are moving, they are constantly feeding on the plant’s sap. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in urban and regional studies. Barkis usually intact beneath a scale. Numerous species of scale insects, typically classified as soft or armored, can attack a broad array of shrubs. You will need several applications to kill off scale bugs and their nymphs. Scale … Apply a sticky, nondrying compound intended for trapping insects in a band around the main stem or stems of the shrub. Flip over suspiciouslooking bumps on twigs and branches with a thumbnail. Shaped like rounded bumps 4. How to Kill Borers on Weeping Cherry Trees, Sooty Mold Caused by Whiteflies on Rhododendron Stems, How to Kill Aphids on Aureo Variegated Boxwood, University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program: Scales, Purdue University Cooperative Extension: Scale Insects on Shade Trees and Shrubs, Colorado State University/Denver County Master Gardeners: Scale Insect Pests, How to Kill Spider Mites and Whiteflies on Shrubs. After noticing signs of scale on plants such as brownish-red or white-gray bumps it’s vital to isolate the plant. The types of plant damage caused by scale insects include: Although scale pests don’t damage plants as quickly as spider mites, you need to get rid of the plant bugs quickly. Alternatively, place bait stations or stakes with a slow-acting active ingredient near the base of the shrub where you observe ant trails. Scale insects are generally small (1/4 inch long or less) and often mimic various plant parts, such as bark and buds. Numerous species of scale insects, typically classified as soft or armored, can attack a broad array of shrubs. Soft scale (for example pink wax scale and soft brown scale) are usually found on the mid-rib of leaves and stalks of host plants. However, you will never see just one of them, which makes them hard to miss. Spray the plant as often as necessary until your plant is pest-free. Term applies to small insect of the order Hemiptera, suborder Sternorrhyncha. (2). If a scale infestation is not addressed correctly, plants eventually die. Scale bugs are plant pests with round or oval shape and range in size from minuscule dots to large lumps. Neem oil works to kill common plant bugs by disrupting their reproductive systems. To treat the symptoms, you must first identify the cause. Replace potting soil with a well-draining, sterile type to prevent scales returning. This moist substance then encourages mold growth, which further depletes plant health by limiting photosynthesis. 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