Scale Insect Identification Scale Bugs are small insects with wingspans between 1/2″ and 3/4″. They have three pairs of legs each. Their bodies are light brown or yellowish green in color, but their antennae are black. Some species may even look like little beetles! They feed on many different plants including grasses, sedges, alfalfa, cottonwood trees and other conifers. Most species prefer warm climates.

The scale bug’s life cycle lasts only one year, but they can live up to two years if given enough food. When adults emerge from pupae (eggs) they resemble tiny white ants, but when fully grown they are about half the size of a grain of rice.

Adults usually mate once during their lifetime and lay eggs every two weeks. These eggs hatch into larvae within six months. Larvae feed on leaves until they turn brown and fall off the plant. Once these larvae are dead, they become pupae again and continue feeding on the same leaf until they die.

Insecticides are used to kill adult scale insects because it takes several generations before new ones appear. Pesticides may kill some of the eggs and larvae, but usually additional sprays will be needed.

Some pest predators like lacewings and ladybugs can also be used to naturally control the population of scale insects.

People have found scale insects on plants. Various treatments and cures for it are available.

There are many resources on the internet about how to kill scale insects. Many gardeners have tried to find out that scale insects are dangerous to their plants. Here are some of the most popular and successful ways to kill scale insects.

Soaps: Using soaps is one of the oldest methods to get rid of scale insects. Using soaps involves spraying plants with special soaps that kill insects.

Some people are skeptical about this method because they believe that too much soap can be harmful to the plant. However, many horticulturists have used this method with success.

Scale Bug – How To Control Plant Scale - igrowplants.net

Neem Oil: Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree, which is native to Asia. This oil can be used as a pesticide because it is toxic to most insects.

You may have to apply this oil more than once because its effect does not last very long.

Systemic Insecticides: These are pesticides that get absorbed by the plant’s system and kill insects that eat the plant or chew on its stem or leaves. Although this method is effective, it might take a few days for the insect to die and in the meantime it may have spread the disease to other parts of the garden.

Paradichlorobenzene: This chemical is used as a moth ball. It can be used on scale insects because it suffocates them.

All you need to do is mix this chemical with oil and dip cotton swabs in it. These swabs can then be placed on the underside of leaves.

Most people use a mixture of more than one of these methods to get rid of scale insects. Since there are so many different types of scale insects, it may take some time to find out the most effective method for your garden.

Try some of these methods and see which one works for you.

Sources & references used in this article:

Mirid bug outbreaks in multiple crops correlated with wide-scale adoption of Bt cotton in China by Y Lu, K Wu, Y Jiang, B Xia, P Li, H Feng… – …, 2010 – science.sciencemag.org

Multiple spatial scale factors affecting mirid bug abundance and damage level in organic rice paddies by MB Takada, A Yoshioka, S Takagi, S Iwabuchi… – Biological Control, 2012 – Elsevier

Competition between stink bug and heliothine caterpillar pests on cotton at within‐plant spatial scales by AR Zeilinger, DM Olson… – … experimentalis et applicata, 2011 – Wiley Online Library

Systemic insecticides for control of scales, leaf miners, and lace bugs by JC Schread – Journal of Economic Entomology, 1960 – academic.oup.com

Arthropod communities and biological control in soybean fields: forest cover at landscape scale is more influential than forest proximity by E González, A Salvo, G Valladares – Agriculture, Ecosystems & …, 2017 – Elsevier

Direct and indirect interactions between ants (Pheidole megacephala), scales (Coccus viridis) and plants (Pluchea indica) by CE Bach – Oecologia, 1991 – Springer

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