Scale is a problem experienced by many different types of plants.

Scale insects suck sap from plants, depriving them of essential nutrients.

Scale insects hide under elaborate coverings meant to protect them from predators and the elements, as well as acting as cover for their eggs.

They can loosely be divided into hard and soft scale groups.

Soft scale types excrete large quantities of honeydew which attracts ants and also provides food for sooty mould to develop. This does not happen with hard scales.

Scale insects thrive in warm, dry environments. The scale bug is small, oval and flat, with a protective tan to brown shell-like covering (scale).

Scale generally targets the undersides of leaves and around leaf joints.Scale-damaged plants look withered and sickly. Leaves turn yellow and may drop from the plant. They may also have sticky sap or a black fungus on the leaves and stems. Heavily infested plants produce little new growth. If scale insects are not controlled, death of infested plants is possible. Scale insects are invasive and will infest other plants, so move infested plants away from healthy ones.
Some species of scale prefer fruiting trees like orange, olive, or lemon. But there are species which attack a wide variety of bromeliads, flowering plants like roses, or even fruit and vegetable plants such as brassicas or beans.


  • Spray with eco-oil to smother scale and attract natural predators.
  • Juveniles mainly develop in warmer months and are easier to kill because they haven’t fully developed their protective scale.
  • Spraying in Spring and into Summer is especially recommended to target these juveniles.
  • It is important to monitor for juveniles so as to know when best to spray.
  • This can be done by monitoring the presence of mature armoured scale from the period season and look for the emergence of the junveniles throughout the spring period.
  • Dead scale don’t always drop off plants immediately but will brush off easily with your fingernail compared to live ones.

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