Cottony cushion scale are sap sucking insects with protective coverings that can be found attached to plant leaves and stems.
Identify the problem
Cottony cushion scale are sap sucking insects that have protective coverings. The protective covering can be hard and waxy to soft and foam-like. The shield like protective cover or frothy covering can make it difficult to identify them as insects. Cottony cushion scales are commonly brown/black with a grey or white cotton wool like covering when they produce eggs.
Cottony cushion scale insects fix themselves to leaves and stems and suck sap. Their waste products are a sweet honeydew that ants and wasps will feed on readily. The sticky honeydew will also encourage moulds such as sooty mould. It may be difficult to see the scale if they are covered by the mould. Infested leaves usually turn yellow. Some scale live beneath bark and are not easily seen.
To Get Rid of Scale Insects:
- Scale insects can be difficult to get rid of but spraying with Organic Super Spraying Oil is most effective, killing scale through suffocation. However, do not spray in the middle of the day or in strong sunlight or high temperature as this can cause burning of the plant. It is best to apply to the crawling and young stages of scale insect.
- Once control has been achieved PLANThealth Spectrum is a good option for prevention and control of scale and the mould that often accompanies them. They can also be applied before (at least one day) application of Organic Super Spraying Oil.
Control Ants and the Sap Sucking Insects they 'Farm' in Trees, Shrubs and Ornamentals
- Apply LawnPro Protect on the the soil around the roots of affected plants. This kills and prevents ants moving up the plants to 'farm' the scale insects.
Did You Know
There are many species of scale insect in the family Coccoidea. In New Zealand common pest species include:
- Cottony cushion scale - Icerya purchasi
- San Jose Scale - Quadraspidiotus pemiciosus
- Rose scale - Aulacaspis rosae
- Oyster shell scale - Quadraspidiotus ostreaeformis
- Soft brown scale - Coccus hesperidum
- Apple mussel scale - Lepidosaphes ulmi
- Greedy scale - Hemiberlesia rapax