scaly bugs

Asked January 27, 2016, 7:05 PM EST

Hi ! I work at Sheldon High in Eugene. We have some indoor planters that are infested with scaly bugs. They look like small brown lumps on the leaves of plants. I understand that in the early fall they leave their shells and reproduce. I am looking for a safe pesticide to eradicate them. Since we are a school we must use a pesticide that complies with IPM guidelines. The guidelines say that no product with the words, Warning, or Danger on its label can be used. After some research, I understand that Neem Oil is a safe and effective choice when applied in the early fall. Do you know of any other pesticides complying with the IPM guidelines that will work better than Neem Oil to get rid of our scaly bugs ? Thank you very very much ! Darin Henry Sheldon High School

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Scale insects can be very difficult to manage. Here is general information on the life cycle and management (this includes both commercial agriculture and landscape information).

This excerpt might be most relevant to your situation, "Scrape scales off plants by hand with fingernail or toothbrush. Prune off major infestations in trees and shrubs if possible. Apply tape, sticky side out or use a similar adhesive near infestations of adult scales to intercept and catch the crawler stage. Water landscape plants and trees properly, as drought-stressed plants are more susceptible to scale insects. Avoid excessive nitrogen applications as this encourages growth in scale insect populations. Generally, pesticide applications are applied to the vulnerable crawler stage before the scale covering is formed."

Labelled pesticides are few. Besides Neem oil, look for an insecticidal soap. Horticultural Oil may also be an option, but will depend on the type of plant it is applied to. You will need to check individual labels to ensure that the pesticide meets the IPM in Schools qualifications. (This is because there may be variation of the same pesticide on the market that have different signal words-.) You'll also want to read the pesticide label carefully to make sure that you are applying to the type of plants allowed by the label.

If you have more questions, I'm happy to talk with you by phone or possibly stop by the school to look at the plants. You can contact me through the OSU Extension Lane County office at 541-344-5859.