The Problem

Scale Insects


There are two main groups of scale insects, both of which spend most of their lives as immobile adults under a coating, sucking the sap from stalks, leaves and stems. Hard scale (for example red citrus scale) has an oyster like coating and is difficult to control. 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. Most common is white wax scale, seen as large patches of white waxy material along the stems and shoots. The wax covers the insects which feed on the sap. The adult scale lays up to 1000 eggs that hatch into crawlers. These crawlers move to a nearby feeding site where they set up home feeding on the sap of the plant. It is at this crawler stage the scale is most vulnerable as there is no waxy coating to protect them. Spraying with Yates Conqueror Oil at this stage will give good results. There are many different types of scale and some scale insects are host specific, such as rose scale, white palm scale, gum tree scale and tea scale (camellias.) Others attack a variety of hosts such as white wax scale occuring on gardenias and citrus; and cottony cushion scale occuring on figs, rose, magnolias, grevilleas and citrus.


White patches on stems or pink or brown raised dome like structures on leaves and stalks about 3-5mm. Sooty mould grows on the honeydew the scale insects secrete. Scale can cause death of stems if infestation is heavy.

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