Soft scale insects are similar to their counterparts, the armored scale insects, except that the waxy shell that is created covers only their back instead of the their whole body. The shell of the soft scale insects are likened to resemble a very small turtle shell. However, like all scale insects, don’t let their small stature fool you into thinking that they are not destructive, because soft scale insects can still cause major damage to your trees and shrubs.
Soft scale insects attach themselves to tree leaves and branches through large mouth parts, at times up to eight times bigger than their bodies, and feed on the nutrients that trees needs to grow. The results can cause tree growth to be hampered. Also, soft scale insects can produce “honeydew”, a sticky substance on the bottom of tree leaves that is an ideal place for tree fungus, such as black mold, to grow.
Common types of soft scale insects include:
Cottony Maple Scale
Soft scale insects are best treated in the spring with a dormant spray.