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Brown Soft Scale

Brown Soft Scale is oval and more flattened than either the black or hemispherical scales: It is a pale brown, dirty white or grayish mottled with dark brown on the back. The shell is pliable. An additional species, the long or elongate soft scale is similar in appearance, but more elongate.

Brown Soft Scale

Brown Soft Scale

Living adult female brown soft scales are pale yellowish green to yellowish brown, often mottled with brown spots. Older females are brown. The body is usually oval in outline, 2.5 to 4 millimeters in length and slightly convex in profile. The shape tends to vary according to position on the host plant. Males look like tiny two-winged wasps or flies and are rare.

feeds on a wide variety of ornamental foliage and flowering plants, particularly ferns. Removal of sap from host plants causes plant stress, and the sweet liquid, called honeydew, coats the surfaces on infested host plants. A fungus called sooty mold colonizes the honeydew and causes the surface to turn black. As a result, heavily infested plants become unsightly and often loose their leaves. Shady new leaf and stem growth is preferred as sites for infestation.

Life Cycle : Females retain their eggs in the body until hatching. Brown soft scales are born as active crawlers but remain under the body of the female for a short time before emerging and selecting a feeding site to settle and complete their development. Females molt twice before reaching maturity. Males undergo four molts before emerging as winged adults, but are rarely seen. All stages are found throughout the year in warmer regions and in greenhouses. Brown soft scales can complete three to seven generations per year depending on temperature. It takes about 60 days to complete a generation.

Soft Brown Scale

Soft Brown Scale

Damage :Brown soft scale is damage scale on plants indoors. Infestations of brown soft scale can become so heavy as to encrust the stems and petioles of their host plant. They also settle on leaves, usually along midribs and occasionally on the fruit. Large colonies remove large quantities of plant fluids and can cause wilting, but they seldom kill their host. Immatures and adults produce much honey dew that serves as a medium for the growth of sooty molds. These fungi inhibit photosynthesis and make infested plants unsightly. Other insects such as ants and wasps are attracted to feed on the honeydew.

Control: Brown soft scales are surprisingly difficult to control even though there is no external egg stage, and only the body of the mother protects a few very young nymphs at any one time. Although reported as a pest species of many host plants in many countries, outdoors natural enemies in many areas may suppress it. Scutellista cyanea Motschulsky is a common parasite and Metaphycus luteolus Timberlake controls brown soft scale.

Soft Brown Scales

Soft Brown Scales

Brown soft scale in interiorscapes encapsulate and kill the developing wasp larvae, so biological control is less than satisfactory. But intensive host feeding, which kills ten scales for each one parasitized, may be sufficient.

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