Scale, in particular White Wax Scale (pictured), can have long lasting, damaging effects on your plants. Scale are tiny plant parasites that attach themselves to host plants after finding a suitable place to latch on. The insects actually cover themselves with a wax covering as a mode of protection which makes them difficult to get rid of. There are hundreds of different varieties of scale with white wax species, one of the most common in Perth.
Generally scale is found on hedging plants because of the dense foliage and orchards, particularly where there are citrus trees. The female insect can lay over 1000 eggs at a time, underneath her protective coating. These eggs hatch in summer and send out juvenile insects called crawlers. These crawlers spread out to find a new location to latch on.
Scale insects produce a sweet honeydew substance which is very attractive to ants. The ants feed on the honeydew and in turn help spread the scale around. Generally when you have a bad scale problem you will also have an ant problem!
Sooty mould is also commonly seen in plants affected by scale. The sooty mould is a fungus that develops in the honeydew and coats the plant with a black film, hence, the name sooty mould. The mould actually prevents sunlight in getting to the plant leaf and prevents it from being able to photosynthesis properly.
Scale needs to be treated during late spring/summer between November and February. This is when the scale is at its most active because the ‘crawlers’ are on the move. You need to treat the plant before the crawlers have settled and started producing their waxy coating.
As mentioned above ants are generally seen where there is a bad scale infestation. Treating the ants will also help prevent further spread of the insects.
Plants that are under stress are more vulnerable to scale attack so ensuring your plants are well watered and looked after will help.
Scale can be very hard to get rid of without the right products. Over the counter products can be ineffective in the long term as they are limited to what active ingredients can be supplied to the average gardener. At Envirapest we have the ability to apply commercial grade products that will fix the problem, once and for all.
If you would like more information about our scale treatments – click here to contact us today.