What Is Armored Scale?
Armored scale (also known as soft scales) are very small insects with hard exoskeletons. They have no wings or antennae and they do not fly. Their bodies are covered with a tough armor made of chitin, which is similar to crab shell. These bugs live under bark and leaves where they feed on the sap of plants such as mint, parsley, basil, marjoram and other herbs.
How Do You Know If Your Plant Has Armored Scale?
If your plant does not show any signs of damage after application of armored scale, then it probably has no problem with these insects. However, if you see some sort of damage to the leaves or stems after applying armored scale, then it is most likely due to them.
When Should You Not Use Armored Scale?
You cannot use armored scale on plants that are growing in soil because this will kill the roots. Also, you cannot use armored scale on plants that are flowering since this will kill the flowers.
Where Can You Get Armored Scale?
Armored scale is available from garden centers and online stores. Some companies sell it in powdered form, but others also sell it in liquid form. Some products include:
The best way to determine if your plant has armored scale is to buy a sample of the product and test its effectiveness before using it on your plant.
How Do You Apply Armored Scale?
When using armored scale always read the instructions carefully before use. In most cases, the product must be diluted and sprayed on with a specialized nozzle or hose end attachment. If you are using a powder, add it to water before spraying.
What Should You Avoid When Using Armored Scale?
Make sure that you do not get armored scale on your plants since this can burn their leaves. Avoid spraying in the hot sun since armored scale can make the solution over-concentrated, which can burn your plants.
What Are The Risks Of Using Armored Scale?
The main risk of using armored scale is getting it on your plant. It can cause burning of the leaves so it is important to avoid over-application. You should also not get any in your eyes or on your skin since this can be very painful and, in some cases, cause blindness.
What Are The Side-Effects Of Using Armored Scale?
Armored scale has no known side effects if used correctly. However, if you get it on your plant there is a chance that the plant could exhibit signs of burning. If this occurs, you should move the plant to a shadier location.
What Should You Do If You Missed A Spot When Using Armored Scale?
Armored scale dries very quickly so it is unlikely that you will miss a spot if you apply it correctly. However, if you do miss a spot then you can dilute some water and carefully apply it to the missed area. Make sure that you do not over-do it as too much can burn your plant.
What Should You Do If You Over-Used Armored Scale?
If you over-apply armored scale, your plant could exhibit signs of burning. If this occurs, move the plant to a shadier location so that the sun cannot burn the leaves any further.
Armored Scale Warnings:
Always read the instructions first before using any pesticides.
Always cover or wrap the containers to prevent children from getting into them.
Never apply pesticides in the sun or when it is windy.
Always apply with the wind blowing towards your plants and water in after use.
Never use petrol-based pesticides as these can be dangerous and pollute the environment.
Never re-use old pesticides and always discard them safely so that animals and children cannot get to them.
Never use someone else’s pesticides unless you are absolutely certain of the instructions and their safety.
Always wash your hands after applying or handling pesticides.
In some cases, a pesticide can actually make your problem worse or even temporary. Always be vigilant and attentive so that you can stop using the pesticide if there is no improvement in your plant’s health after using it.
Always keep pesticides out of reach of children and animals. If a pet or child ate some it could cause illness, injury, or even death.
Sources & references used in this article:
Armored scale insect pests of trees and shrubs (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) by DR Miller, JA Davidson – 2005 – books.google.com
Natural enemies and plant water relations influence the distribution of an armored scale insect by LM Hanks, RF Denno – Ecology, 1993 – Wiley Online Library
DNA barcodes for two scale insect families, mealybugs (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) and armored scales (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) by DS Park, SJ Suh, PDN Hebert, HW Oh… – Bulletin of …, 2011 – researchgate.net
A mutualism without honeydew: what benefits for Melissotarsus emeryi ants and armored scale insects (Diaspididae)? by C Peeters, I Foldi, D Matile-Ferrero, BL Fisher – PeerJ, 2017 – peerj.com
A phylogenetic analysis of armored scale insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), based upon nuclear, mitochondrial, and endosymbiont gene sequences by JC Andersen, J Wu, ME Gruwell, R Gwiazdowski… – Molecular Phylogenetics …, 2010 – Elsevier
Diversity and Phylogeny of Cardinium (Bacteroidetes) in Armored Scale Insects (Hemiptera: Diaspididae) by ME Gruwell, J Wu, BB Normark – Annals of the Entomological …, 2009 – academic.oup.com
DNA diagnostics of three armored scale species on kiwifruit in New Zealand by R Edwards, C Carraher, J Poulton… – Journal of economic …, 2008 – academic.oup.com