Scale insects have been a primary concern in our gardens and farmlands. They are one of the most frustrating insects, operating under the radar and permanently destroying our harvest. And these little critters are hard to get rid of.
But before the end of this page, you will get your answers. I will tell you the different species, how to spot their infestation, and the best insecticides for scales insects that eradicate them for good.
So buckled up!
What Are Scale Insects?
Scale insects, or mealybugs, as they are commonly known, are tiny farm pests that can be found in every part of the world.
They are of different species and are connected mainly to the Coccoidea family.
They feed on and damage most food crops, ornamental plants, grasses, and trees.
But what do scale insects look like?
Well, based on their different species, their look varies. But they are mainly circular to oval insects that are 0.1 to 0.3 inches long.
They feed on plant sap within the plant stems and leaf tissues.
Adult females are usually more visible than males, white to yellow. They have just a pair of long antennae and one pair of wings.
The females in some species can reproduce asexually and do not need their male companion for reproduction.
It will be essential to know the types of scales to look out for first before knowing how to eliminate them.
Types Of Scale Insects
It will be easier to control specific specie if you can identify that specie.
So in the list below, we will explain the most common species and their feeding patterns (where they feed).
These insects are grouped into three groups in this list, so note.
They are soft, miscellaneous, and armored species of scale insects.
The Soft Scale Species Of Insects
The soft-scale species, also known as the Coccidae, are a pest that possesses a waxy coating that protects them against different forms of insecticides.
Although oily insecticides will likely stay long enough to develop effects on them.
Coccidae produce red dyes emitted from carminic acid extracted from the females.
The best-known soft scale in this family is the Coccus viridis. This scale insect is also known as the coffee scale.
Coffee scale is a prevalent agricultural pest and feeds on coffee plants.
Other common species in this category include;
1. Black Scale: host include apple, apricot, bay, coyote brush, aspen, citrus, fig, grape, maple, olive, oleander, pistachio, pomegranate, prune, rose, privet, Peppertree, and palm.
2. Citricola Scale: citrus and hackberry.
3. Brown Apricot Scale: a few evergreen alder, cottonwood, elm, poplar, coyote brush, fruit, and nut trees.
The Miscellaneous Species
Some scale insects are neither soft nor armored. These insects are called miscellaneous.
Here are some you should look out for;
1. Ground Pearls: these look like giant-scale insects. Many appear cottony or soft, while others look berry-like in shape and color.
Scales like the Armenian cochineal are more massive than most other scales, primarily because of their cottony exterior.
Watch for ants on the scale; they are attracted by the sweet honeydew excreted.
2. Mealybugs: most people don’t know that the mealybugs are also a form of scale.
Well, they are. And unlike most other scales, mealybugs have legs but may remain in a spot if they find a sound feeding system.
The mealybugs are a notorious vegetable pest that terrorizes every agricultural field. They also attack commercial crops.
3. Cottony Cushion Scale: feeds on laurel-leaved snail trees.
4. Cedar Scale or Monterey Cypress Scale: feeds on cedar and junipers.
5. Sycamore Scale: California sycamore and London plane.
Armored Scale Species
The armored scale species, known as the Diaspididae, looks like bumps on plant surfaces.
There are so many species of the armored scale.
Scales have an armor-like coating that they use to protect themselves from surrounding predators and insecticides.
One example of this stubborn pest is the California Red Scale. The citrus psyllid feeds primarily on citrus trees but consumes olives and other fruit. It can be found in veg such as pumpkin too.
Other armored scales in this category and their hosts include;
- The Euonymus Scale feeds on boxwood, English ivy, holly, honeysuckle, Japanese spurge, and many more.
- Latania Scale feeds primarily on kiwi fruit.
- Tea Scale feeds on Chinese and Japanese hollies, dogwood, ferns, mango, and tea plants.
After knowing what scale insects are and their various types, the next thing you should get conversant with is how to identify these tiny pests and the havoc they cause to crops and ornamental plants.
Identifying Damages Caused By Scale Insects
One way to identify the damage caused by these pests is, first of all, being able to identify the scales.
If you see tiny bumps congregated on the leaves of the ornamental plant or fruit tree, try popping one off by dropping alcohol or liquor and see if the underside looks like an insect body. If it does, then you have a scale at hand.
Some scales usually have an oyster-shaped shell or a waxy covering. A cotton-like substance covers cottony cushion scales.
Another way to identify scale damage is to look for damage caused by a particular plant. Some species stop overall plant growth.
Other species cause damage that might appear to be a problem, from lack of watering to yellowing leaves and early leaf dropoff.
If sooty molds form on plants infested with scale insects, that may indicate honeydew produced by the pests.
Sooty mold occurs during warm periods when ants tend to fend off scale insects’ natural enemies. This is also when most scales are active—thus, crucial inspection should occur at this time of year.
After identifying the damage caused by these gruesome insects, the next is how to eliminate them from your plants.
Best Insecticide For Scale Insects
The best repellent to get rid of scale insects effectively is the Dominion 2L.
The Dominion 2L is a very tough insecticide for scale insects.
It will be absorbed into the plants and then translocated through plant tissues. This effectively kills any pest that feeds on your plants while keeping them safe.
Dominion 2L is the best when it comes to the treatment of large plants and landscape ornamentals.
During the operation of this chemical, you are expected you wear the proper personal protective equipment and keep all pets and people away from treated areas until dry.
Also, remember that Dominion 2L is recommended for treating larger and ornamental plants. If you want to make an indoor application for your small potted plant, use a small alcohol-based solution with a small spray bottle.
How Do You Use The Dominion 2L Effectively?
First of all, you will have to determine how much of the chemical you may need, and calculating the square footage of the treatment area will help you a lot.
Measure and multiply the treatment area’s length times the width (length x width = square footage).
Applying Dominion 2L at a rate of 0.4 to 0.6 fluid ounces per 1,000 square feet with at least 10 gallons of water is the most effective way to treat scale on your plants’ roots.
Apply the chemical uniformly around the base of the plant with at least 10 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet (why a hose sprayer is recommended).
You aim to get the Insecticide to the root of the plant, so be sure to remove any kind of plastic, netting, or anything that might hinder the chemical from reaching the root.
You may use the same process for flowers and other ornamental plants by evenly spreading the solution on and around the base of the plants. After application, it is advisable to water the area to drive the Dominion 2L solution down into the plant root zone.
Also, remember that the chemical is highly effective against scale insects and other plant-feeding insects, but it harms bees. Do not apply this solution when your plants are flowering to avoid the risk of harming any pollinators.
Having scale insects on your crops and ornamental plants can be catastrophic for you and the plants.
But identifying these tiny pests and getting rid of them is undoubtedly a significant relief.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking care of the plants and avoiding scale infestation would be better.
If you already have an infestation, the Dominion 2L insecticide is quite the right chemical for the job.
Applying this chemical will surely get your crops and ornamental plants back in good health.