Soap spray is a common way to get rid of scale infestation. The most apparent damage that scale causes on houseplants is weak or stunted growth. The life cycle of scales starts as an egg before going through two growth stages (instars) and maturing as adults. What should you look out for when inspecting plants for scale pests? In this guide to scale insect control, you will find out how to get rid of these plant-destroying bugs on houseplants and outdoor plants. Scales on houseplants often come from new plants you bring into your home. First, let’s talk quickly about what scale is. For a small infestation, you can rub the scale with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab to remove them. It can coat a sago within months and kill it within a year. Can You Spray Plants with Alcohol?. Applying neem oil to plant foliage breaks the life cycle of scale. Related: Common Houseplant Pests: Types, Identification, and Control. It’s best to prune the affected part for heavily-infested plants to remove all traces of scale bugs altogether. Pruning is just one part of your battle to remove all signs of scale insects. This prevention method will avoid an infestation from getting out of control. As scale bugs can infect houseplant soil, it is vital to replace potting soil to ensure you eliminate scale insects from your plants and to make sure they don’t return. But other ways that scale insects get into the house and infest plants are from using contaminated soil, reusing an unsterilized pot, or keeping houseplants outside in the summer. For the purposes of this article though, the solution is effective against aphids, mealybugs, scale, red spider mites, fungus gnats, white flies and more. These insects secrete a waxy covering – that gives them their common name – to protect them from the environment and predators. Scale insects are destructive houseplant pests that look like small bumps on plant stems and leaves. Researchers from Colorado State University say that neem oil is a type of horticultural oil, useful for scale insect control. Scale insects are nasty little plant suckers that are relatively common among indoor and outdoor plants and trees. Alternatively, you can mix one-part rubbing alcohol with one-part water and kill the spider mites that are infesting your plant. Soft scale (for example pink wax scale and soft brown scale) are usually found on the mid-rib of leaves and stalks of host plants. Others, will have no problem at all. amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit"; Scale is easily transmitted to clean plants when plants are crowded, ... you can rub the scale with isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab to remove the bugs. Because nymphs can be hard to spot, you’ll need to use natural oil or soap sprays to debug the rest of your plant. Armored scales can kill trees and must be controlled when their population gets too high. The scales can be tiny pests, measuring 2 mm, or larger bugs up to 5 mm in diameter. The residual effect of neem oil means that the natural homemade scale spray continues working after applying it. The alcohol solution helps to breakdown the bug’s protective waxy layer, causing them to dehydrate and die. Neem oil works to kill common plant bugs by disrupting their reproductive systems. If you can, move the plant away from any air currents. . 5. Just make sure that they are natural products from organic sources to prevent toxic chemicals in your home. When the minuscule insects hatch, they crawl to another place on the plant. Fill in a spray bottle, shake well, and liberally spray all affected parts of your plant to kill the scale bugs. If you love your tropical plants and value the months or even years of effort you have put into them to keep them alive, you will want to keep a sharp eye out for pests that can undo all of your work in a short amount of time. Scale insects are among the most destructive pests on ornamental plants, according to the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Program. As mentioned above, you should use 70% isopropyl alcohol. Redoctober Well-Known Member. Replace potting soil with a well-draining, sterile type to prevent scales returning. Neem oil spray is an effective way to kill scale insects on plant. They feed by sucking sap and some can weaken host plants, many excrete a sticky substance (honeydew), which allows the growth of sooty moulds. Most types of scale insects have oval-shaped bodies. I spray my bay plant in the tub to avoid getting soapy, alcohol-y, buggy, water everywhere. These tan or brown shell, sap-eating insects like to live on the stems or the leaves of the plants in your home or your greenhouse. Once you have ensured that the plant you want to clean has passed the initial test, then simply use a cotton ball soaked in the rubbing alcohol mixture to wipe the dust off the leaves. And the best part about it, is this is nice, safe alternative compared to the many dangerous chemical products that are out there. One homemade insecticide that can really do the job is 70% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). There are many different brands. An alcohol spray is effective against mealy bugs, whiteflies, red spider mites, aphids, fungus gnats, and scale. Do not use other alcohols such as ethanol or methanol; they will penetrate the plant tissues and cause considerable damage. Tropical plants take a lot of time and patience to grow and keep alive. A common way to identify scales plant insects is by the damage the pesky bugs cause. In addition, many ferns produce spores that look a lot like brown scale. amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "manual"; You could inadvertently bring in all sorts of plant pests—scales included—on cut garden flowers or fresh produce from the store. As a Pesticide: Rubbing alcohol can be an effective pesticide for use against Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and whiteflies. Alcohol will dehydrate the pests and cause them to come off the plant. A popular home remedy is swabbing plants with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Scale insects thrive in warm, dry environments. Soapy water also helps to remove honeydew and black sooty mold caused by scale bugs. What are the best ways to eliminate scale on plants naturally? If left untreated, scales can eventually cause plant death. Despite your best intentions, sometimes nature will take its course and you’ll find yourself treating your plant for scale. Scrape off or spray off any visible bugs from your plants. Rub them out with rubbing alcohol. The bugs might never move from that spot. There is also the possibility of chilling the plant with the fast evaporating alcohol. Good luck! The alcohol kills bugs by dissolving the bug’s cells as it is a solvent. 1. After the plant dries out the dead scale bugs will start to dry out too. As long as you test the mixture first – on a small section of your plant such as one leaf and dilute the mixture properly as outlined above, it should not kill your plants. Shake well and spray liberally on all infested plant parts to kill scale bugs. Watch out not to spray the plant in direct sunlight. One of the advantages of neem oil is that it’s an excellent preventative control method for keeping scale away from your plants. 70% means that 70% of the contents in the bottle is alcohol and 30% is water. There is a true, tested, safe aphid control method out there – it’s isopropyl alcohol. For larger infestation dip a cloth in rubbing alcohol and wipe the affected leaves or stems. The scale group of bugs includes many species, grouped as armored, soft and mealybug. Generic brands are perfectly fine. If inside plants are infested, you may be looking for a way to control scale insects on indoor plants. It’s during their adult stage when scale bugs do the most damage. If you have a heavy infestation outdoors, prune away the stems with the most scales. In general, rubbing alcohol can kill a wide variety of bugs not just plant pests. Discover how to get rid of bugs in houseplants (including identification and pictures). Scale insects do damage to plants by their mouths, which pierce plant tissue and suck sap. . Adults are visible on plants, though they often blend in. Scales often come from the outdoors as well as from new infested houseplants. If the scale problem is not that bad, you can physically remove them from your plant. 3. One way to kill and remove as many of the scales from the plant as you can is by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol (you may need to pry some of them off using your fingernail). How to Use Alcohol on Orchids Indoors. You can spray the solution on the pests as mentioned above or apply it directly with a cotton ball or swab. Rubbing Alcohol. Then, carefully remove the root ball from the pot and dispose of all soil. Yes, it is. The insect is small, oval and flat, with a tan to brown shell-like covering. This step is vital to prevent getting scale bugs or other houseplant pests infesting your houseplants. Inspect the plant closely to make sure there is no damage from the test area. No harm done to leaf tissue. Identifying Scale Plant Insect. Even worse, they can wipe out other nearby plants if you don’t take action. The hard scale does not leave this excretion. Read on to find out. You will need several applications to kill off scale bugs and their nymphs. 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