Scale insects

Time to act:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Mar, Apr, May, Dec, Jan, Feb, Sep, Oct, Nov

Tiny sap-sucking scale insects. They are 1-6mm long, and their whitish, grey-brown shells are covered by protective, waxy scales. The insects don't cause too much damage unless they are present in huge numbers, but some excrete an unsightly, sticky, sugary substance (called honeydew) which encourages the growth of a fungus called sooty mould. Early summer is the best time to tackle the problem, when the newly hatched insects are crawling around looking for a place to feed and settle.

Symptoms

Plants are infested with tiny, sap-feeding, scale-like insects packed around the stems and leaves.

Find it on

a wide range of plants, house plants, greenhouse plants

Advertisement

Organic

First try to remove them with your thumbnail. If there are too many, use an insecticidal soap spray. Alternatively, leave them for the birds to pick off. In a greenhouse, use the parasitic wasp, Metaphycus helvolus, bought by mail order as a biological control.

Chemical

Use a pesticide containing deltamethrin on ornamental crops - organic fatty acid sprays can be used on fruit bushes and trees.

Advertisement

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Mealybugs

Red spider mites

Codling moth

Currant blister aphids

Related offers

Offer

Save on patio lavatera

Bee-friendly lavatera 'Barnsley Baby' is neat and compact, making it ideal for growing in pots. With this offer, you'll save £11.98 when you buy two plants for just £12.

Order now

FREE P&P

Subscriber only content

Two hydrangeas for £10

Subscribers save on Hydrangea 'Glam Rock' - buy one 9cm-potted plant for £9.99, or save £9.98 when you buy two for just £10. You'll also get free p&p with this offer.

Unlock now

Offer

Rose 'Madame Alfred Carrière'

Save 15 per cent across the entire range at Crocus, including the spectacular climbing rose 'Madame Alfred Carrière'. Enter offer code at checkout to claim your discount.

Use code: GWMAY15

Order now