Scale insects are common on ornamental trees and shrubs, plants, and groundcovers. The adult female scales are usually found attached to branches, leaves, needles, and fruit. Like Aphids, these insects are a sucking insect that feeds on plant juices. With large infestations, honeydew is produced on the plants making the leaves sticky. The honeydew can collect on decks, lawn furniture, and other landscape surfaces. Mold fungus can grow on the honeydew making plants look dirty.
Scales can overwinter and generally will hatch from spring to late June. Young scales are highly mobile and are referred to as “crawlers.” When they find a suitable plant, they insert their mouth into the plant, molt and lose their legs. This makes them non-mobile but able to move onto branches in late summer or fall. Most scale species have one or two generations per year.
You can scrape scales off plants by hand or with a toothbrush. If the infestation is large in a tree or shrub, pruning the infested parts may be necessary. Drought stressed plants are easy targets for scale insects. Pesticide applications are best made during the crawler stage when they are most vulnerable.
Learn more about Scale insects by calling us at 541-688-5987. We’re happy to answer your questions and provide estimates.