Plant scale are one of those house plant insects that come equipped with piercing/sucking mouth parts.
Scale on plants secrete a waxy covering over their bodies resembling a plate of armor. The scale lives and feeds under this covering, hence the name.
When scouting for scale on houseplants look on the undersides of the leaves and where leaves join the stem.
Scale will appear as small lumps on the leaf. On indoor plants scale can usually be removed with a finger nail or wiped off.
How To Remove Scale From Plants
One easy method of control is to apply alcohol with cottons swabs directly on the scale.
Horticultural oils are effective in combating scale and should be considered due to their safety to non-target organisms, people and the environment – although I like neem insecticide better.
If you examine your plants regularly and keep the leaves clean, scale should not be a problem. Before applying any insecticide or even the natural insecticide neem. Make sure you – READ THE LABEL.
Scale robs plants by sucking the fluids plants leaves and stems. This robs plants of essential nutrients. Leaves begin to yellow and wither, the leaves may also begin to drop. Plant scale living in a home or office thrive in the dry, warm environment. However, they are not difficult to control.
Taking Control of Scale on Plants
- Step 1 – We already told you what to look for and where to find scale hiding. That’s the first step to handling scale correctly.
- Step 2 – Move any infested plants away other houseplants. Plants scale travels well and can infest other plants.
- Step 3 - Try to remove any scale “naturally” by hand if possible. Be careful not to scape or open a wound on the plant by scraping too hard.
- Step 4 – Wash down the infested plant with a mixture of soapy warm water (not hot) if you cannot remove all the scale manually. I prefer a natural alternative first. Wash leaves individually. Rinse the plant well after washing.
- Step 5 - OPTIONAL – purchase natural predator insects. Put the predator insects directly on the infested plant. This is called IPM or integrated pest management. Once insects eat all the plant scale, they die from lack of food indoors.
- Step 6 – Continue to scout for any outbreaks.
More Pest Plant Control Tips
- Always use the least toxic method of control pest first
- Water plants well before treating or releasing any predatory insects
- If you go they route of chemical control – always wear chemical protective clothing and safety gear. This includes a long sleeve shirt, long pants, gloves, safety goggles and spray mask or respirator.
- DO NOT USE chemical pesticides inside your home – they are not recommended
- Read and follow ALL LABELS
- Wash thoroughly after any spray application