Pest Control - Scale

Scale is a common houseplant pest that belongs to the order Hemiptera, also known as the "true bugs." They are small, hard-shelled insects that are often found on the stems and leaves of houseplants. Scale insects can come in a variety of colors, including brown, gray, and white, and can range in size from tiny to about the size of a pinhead.

How To Detect: The most obvious sign of scale infestation is the presence of small, hard, disc-like bumps on the stems and leaves of your houseplants. These bumps may be brown, gray, or white, and they may appear to be stuck to the plant. Another sign of scale infestation is the presence of small, black, sooty mold colonies on the leaves of your plant. The mold forms in response to the scale insects' excrement and can indicate a heavy infestation. If left untreated, scale infestations can weaken or kill the plant.

How To Treat: There are a few different ways to treat a houseplant for scale infestation, including safe organic options, less invasive options, and chemical options. One organic option is to use a mixture of water and dish soap to spray the plant, as the soap will suffocate the scale insects. Another organic option is to use neem oil, which is a natural insecticide. A less invasive option is to use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrape off the scale insects. Chemical options include using insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Always be sure to follow the instructions on the product labels and test a small area of the plant before treating the entire plant.

How To Prevent: To prevent scale infestations in your houseplants, be sure to quarantine new plants before introducing them to your collection. Inspect the leaves, stems, and undersides of the leaves for scale insects and other pests before bringing the plant home. Also, keep your plants clean by regularly wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris that may harbor pests. Regularly inspecting your plants for pests and treating them early can help prevent infestations from becoming severe.

Quarantine: When dealing with a houseplant that has a scale infestation, it is important to quarantine the plant to prevent the pests from spreading to your other plants. This can be done by placing the infested plant in a separate room or area away from your other plants. It is important to not use the same tools for healthy and infested plants, clean your tools with rubbing alcohol or soap and water before and after using them on a plant. It's also important to treat the infested plant before bringing it back to the main collection, to ensure that it is free of pests.

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