Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Identify and Manage Scale Insects

Scale insects are small, immobile insects with no visible legs or antennae, pressed tightly against the plant on which they are feeding. Many are common and serious pests of trees, shrubs and indoor plants. Scale insects are parasites on many evergreen and deciduous plants. They can occur on leaves, twigs, branches or trunks. These small pests feed on sap drawn directly from the plant’s vascular system.


Damage:


Scale insects feed on plant sap. They have long, threadlike mouthparts (stylets) which are six to eight times longer than the insect itself. Scale feeding slowly reduces plant vigor; heavily infested plants grow poorly and may suffer dieback of twigs and branches. An infested host is occasionally so weakened that it dies. Scales often secrete a sticky honeydew which is attractive to wasps and ants and which supports the growth of black sooty molds.


Control:


Scale insects are generally controlled by natural enemies, including tiny parasitic wasps and predators such as ladybugs. It is very common for ladybugs to move onto a plant with a growing scale infestation; before deciding upon treatment, look for adult and immature ladybugs on your plants. These pests are often controlled with horticultural spray oils, biological control or pest resistant plants. Dormant oil treatments can be used against almost all scale problems and are generally applied in very early spring, before bud break. Summer oils can also be very effective against most scales, but as with dormant oils, some plants are sensitive to these treatments. Check labels to make sure your plant is not harmed by the oil treatment you are considering. Most other insecticides, including insecticidal soaps, can be used only against the mobile crawler stage of scales since adult scales are protected from insecticides by a waxy covering. These treatments are very effective, but must be carefully timed as crawlers are only active for a limited period.

However, preventive maintenance is the most cost-effective way to keep your landscape trees and shrubs from infestations. Healthy plants resist insects, diseases and damage. For this reason, it is important to have an arborist inspect your property and recommend appropriate action.  Trees "R" Us, Inc. has arborists on staff ready to assess your trees and shrubs.  If scale insects are the problem, the staff at Trees "R" Us, Inc. has the experience and knowledge on how to treat your trees appropriately and safely.



Trees "R " Us, Inc. is proud to educate our communities on proper tree care and maintenance.

It is through education that we really save trees and help the environment.  We hope you found this post informative and educational. 
Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
Thanks for reading,
Nick

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