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Shop > Beneficial Insects > Scale Controls

As a sap-sucking parasitic pest, scale is common on backyard trees, ornamental shrubs, greenhouse plants and houseplants. They have odd shape and resemble shell-like bumps rather than insects. Heavy infestations build up unnoticed and may result in poor growth, yellowed leaves of the plants.

Pest Description

Scales are small and have oval and flat body with a protective brown shell-like covering. They vary greatly in colour, shape and size. Different varieties of scale can be white, black, orange, or colours that blend in with the plant’s colour, making them harder to detect.

Scale insects can be divided into two groups:

Armored (Hard) - Secrete a hard and protective covering (1/8 inch long) over themselves. The armored scale lives and feeds under this spherical armor. Armored scales don’t have mouthparts, and they do not secrete honeydew. Male scales are smaller and more elongated than female ones. Female armored scales keep their eggs under their scale coverings for protection until they hatch. Freshly hatched scales are only about the size of pinhead. Once a location is selected, females attach themselves to a plant, losing their legs in the first molting. While females are immobile, males can move on the plant.

Soft - Secrete a waxy film (up to 0.5 inch long) that is part of the body. They may not come from as large a family as armored scales, they are larger in size. Females have elongated shape. In most cases, they are able to move short distances and produce a large amount of honeydew while they are feeding. Soft scales more vary in shape from flat to almost spherical than armored ones do.

Scale Damage

Generally, they target the undersides of leaves and around leaf joints. The honeydew from scales promotes a black mold (known commonly as sooty mold) that colonizes and grows on the leaf surface. Sooty mold eventually covers leaves and stems. Also, it inhibits infected parts of the plant from photosynthesizing as well as causes aesthetic damage. Ants are often present as well to feed on the sugary honeydew.

Scale-damaged plants look withered and sickly. Leaves turn yellow due to the insufficient photosynthesis activity and may drop from the plant. Heavily infested plants produce little new growth. If scales are not controlled, death of infested plants is possible. Once a plant is dead, the scales move to find a new host, and the damage is repeated on the new plant.


  • Dispose of infested branches, twigs and leaves to get rid of scale insects.
  • The newly hatched level can be controlled effectively most.
  • For indoor plants, try to remove scale by rubbing gently with a sponge dipped in rubbing alcohol. The alcohol should kill the scale, but the dead insects will remain on the plants.

APHYTIS MELINUS <br> (Parasite)


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