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Armored Scale Insects

Scale invasionArmored scale insects are small bugs that attach themselves to leaves and branches of trees. While armored scale insects are attached, they insert their large needle-like mouth parts, sometimes as long as eight times the length of their body, and feed on the tree sap. Similar to aphids, during feeding is when these insects cause the most damage to the growth of the trees and shrubs. They also secrete a sticky material called “honeydew”, resulting in additional harm to the tree through the growth of fungus.

Armored scale insects control is best achieved by the application of dormant sprays and pesticides while they are in their mobile state. During this mobile state they are called crawlers, coming out from underneath their protective coating, usually in early to mid summer. Armored scale insects can also be controlled naturally by predatory insects such as lady bugs.

Common Types of Armored Scale Insects

San Jose Scale

  • Circular and smoky black.
  • Small in size around 1 or 2 mm in diameter, can sometimes be confused for dirt on a plant or bark
  • Most widely distributed and destructive to fruit trees, shade trees, and ornamental bushes
  • Affect up to 60 species of plants and trees
  • Highly reproductive with up to 3 generations per year
  • Dormant Spray is the best control

Oyster Shell Scale

  • Chestnut brown colored
  • Shell is shaped like an oyster
  • Eggs hatch in late May
  • Mostly effect apple, lilac, dogwood, birch, and elm trees
  • Dormant spray is best control

Pine Needle Scale

  • Are a pure white color
  • Effect ornamental plants and spruces
  • Best treated in spring when lilacs are in bloom
  • Best controlled with dormant spray or treatment in early summer before crawlers are covered under the waxy protective coating

Euonymus Scale

  • The females are pear shaped and a blackish brown color
  • Males are elongated and white
  • Mostly effect evergreen trees in nursery settings
  • Can cause defoliation and branch die back
  • Have two generations per year

Juniper Scale

  • Females are round with a dirty while color and yellow center (slightly resembling a fried egg)
  • Males also are white without the yellow center
  • Effect junipers, arborvitae, Cyprus, and incense cedar trees
  • Best control is dormant spray or mid-summer treatment

Hemlock Scale

  • Are a brownish color
  • Are found on the underside of needs of hemlock trees as well as other conifers

If you are worried that your trees have been invaded by these or any other scale insect, contact us today at (877) 944-4007 or click to request a FREE Estimate. Allow our experts to apply their years of expertise to deal with your scale insect problem quickly and professionally the first time.