Do you know that there are more than 8000 described species of scale insects? Getting rid of scale insects is one of the most challenging tasks for gardeners. They feed on various parts of a plant and destroy it steadily.
These insects are tricky and hard to identify. Your first task is to determine the extent of the scale infection in your plants. Once you recognize that, you can take actionable steps to protect your garden.
And today, you will learn about seven ways on how to get rid of scale insects. You will also know what they are. Let's roll.
What Are Scale Insects?
Scale insects are small, round, or oval-shaped bumpy insects. Due to their small size and strong attachment, it's hard to recognize them over the plants. They belong to the actual bug family, ranging from ⅛ to ½ -inches long.
These pests can potentially harm your garden. Therefore, you need to remove them quickly to stop them from scaling to nearby plants. Generally, you can remove them using good cordless leaf mulchers and shredders. However, there are some more ways.
Types of Scale Insects
There are two types of scale insects:
Armored scale insects
Armored scale insects are more challenging to remove because of their hard coating. You may find them on lower leaves or stems. They don't secrete honeydew and can do serious harm to a plant.
Soft scale insects
They are rounded or oval and characterized by their size range between 0.3 to 0.6 cm. They produce a soft waxy protective covering and secrete honeydew. You can usually find them on the underside of indoor plants.
7 Ways to Protect Your Garden from Scales Insects
Now that you know about scale insects, here are seven effective ways that you can try and protect your garden from damage:
1. Pruning Infected Branches
If you've identified that a plant has an infection due to scale insects, put them away from other plants. It'll prevent it from spreading over your garden.
Cut the affected part and remove those parts (leaves) with pruning shears. Next, put the damaged component in the trash. You'll see your plant will be fruitful after pest removal.
In case of a minor infection, you can wipe off infected leaves and stems with a brush. With plants having broad leaves, this technique works effectively.
2. Spraying Water on Scale Insects
Spraying is one of the easiest ways to get rid of scale insects. You can spray water with your hose pipe to the infected area. Make sure the pressure of the water spray is not too high or too low.
High pressure can damage plants, and low pressure will not be enough to remove pests. So, buy a good quality pressure washer and control the pressure accordingly.
When the insects get removed from the plants, leave the rest part over insect-feeding creatures. Remember that this process is appropriate for soft-scale insects.
3. Applying Insecticidal Soap Water
You can quickly inspect and identify adult-scale insects. But what about younger insects who are in their larval stage? In such a situation, you need to use insecticidal soap water to wipe them off your plants.
Mix soap liquid in the gallon of water and start spraying over the plants. Since insects are not effective in their initial stage, this solution can kill them.
Using low-quality harmful soap water can damage your plants. You should ensure you buy soap water from a trusted and tested supplier. And never apply this method till your plants are in direct sunlight or dehydrated.
4. Spraying Horticultural Oil
Horticulture oil would work for adults and young scale insects. You need to mix oil with water and spray over your garden with a hosepipe. You can see scale insects on stems, the leaves, and the base of the plant.
Thus, it is essential to treat the whole plant thoroughly. You must apply this technique several times to make your plant free from pests. Do it carefully since some plants could be sensitive.
It's better to ask an experienced person or an expert to achieve maximum results.
5. Putting Neem Oil is Beneficial
You know neem oil contains a component named azadirachtin, which is helpful in the elimination of harmful scale insects from the plants. It is clinically proven after much research and studies.
Neem water is non-toxic and considered an organic pesticide. The best part is that it doesn't harm honey bees or other beneficial insects.
Since you can not mix neem oil with water, therefore, add neem water and detergent to mix with water. Afterward, spray the solution over the plants with a garden sprayer.
6. Use Beneficial Insects
While this may seem doubtful, it is yet another great option to remove scale insects from plants. You can use beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, honey bees, and parasite wasps.
These insects will prey scale insects in their larval stage. You can quickly get these beneficial insects from local gardening shops or order them by mail.
Once you receive them, gently spread them over your garden. Soon you'll find that your garden is free from scale insects.
7. Net Your Plants or Use Plant Collars
Plant collars can be an excellent solution if you struggle with scale insects. Take a cardboard and cut it into circles. Arrange it around the base of your plant.
Another option is netting your plants. No matter the plant size, you can use a net to cover each plant or garden. When you need to water or harvest the plants, you can remove them carefully.
It is also essential to put spacing while planting. Enough space will allow plants to breathe and reduce the expansion of scale insects to other plants.
Wrapping Up Our Scale Insects Guide
Once you've understood the scale insects, you'll find that the process of removing them is not challenging. There are many other ways to eliminate harmful scale insects from your garden. But the tips mentioned above are the most popular and effective.
It includes pruning infected leaves, using beneficial insects, netting & plant collars, spraying water, horticulture oil, and neem oil. Additionally, these methods are not harmful to your plants.
But still, if you are planning to use any of them, you should take expert advice before applying. Now you can protect your garden from scale insects.