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Scale Insects

(Order Hemiptera)

Appearance

Scale insects are sap-feeding bugs that have a tan to brown shell-like covering or scale that protects the insect's body. Some scales are hemispherical in shape, while others are oval and flat.

Size

Range from 1/16 to 1/4-inch in length.

Behavior

Scale insects feed by sucking plant sap and may cause poor, stunted plant growth. A large quantity of sweet, sticky liquid called honeydew is excreted by scale insects. Honeydew can make a sticky, shiny mess on the plant and nearby furniture and floors. A black fungus called sooty mold may grow on the honeydew. This can also attract other pests such as ants.

Habitat

Several species of scale insects commonly infest plants in the home or greenhouse. They can be serious pests on all types of woody plants and shrubs. Scales have long piercing mouthparts with which they use to suck juices out of plants. They may occur on twigs, leaves, branches, or fruit. Severe infestations can cause overall decline and even death of plants.

Interesting Facts

Scales are so unusual looking that many people do not at first recognize them as insects. Adult female scales and many immature forms do not move and are hidden under a disk-like or waxy covering. They lack a separate head and other recognizable body parts.

Control

Do you live in South Florida and think that this pest may be invading your yard? Hulett Environmental Services offers specialty lawn care treatments designed to control and eliminate this pest!

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