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Indian Wax Scale

Indian Wax Scale Adult coccids are relatively soft-bodied compared to most other scales. Adult females of the most commonly encountered species are either slug-like or resemble a piece of popcorn. Males are unknown for most species, and even when known are rarely seen.

Indian Wax Scale

Indian Wax Scale

Ovoid and pale purple, the eggs resemble pollen when shaken onto a white surface. The eggs are found under adult scales. Crawlers are flat and tiny. In a mass, newly hatched crawlers appear rusty red.

Scales have very fine, threadlike mouthparts called stylets, which are inserted through the bark of a twig or the skin of a leaf or fruit and used like a straw to extract host sap. Because plant sap contains excessive quantities of sugar and water, far more than these insects need for nutritional purposes, scales have a specialized digestive system which allows large amounts of this sweet mixture to bypass the stomach.

Life Cycle :Females overwinter as completely mature adults. Egg laying begins in late April. It is two to four weeks or more before the eggs hatch. Hatching can take place any time from June 1 to 23, depending on geographic location. Development through the cameo and dunce cap instars takes place during late July and August.

Females are mature by late August or September. Wax scales settle and remain on the twigs and stems. Only where very dense populations exist will crawlers settle on leaves and fruit. There frequently are variants in the populations, such as a few eggs hatching as late as July. Adult females lay 1,500 to 2,000 eggs on average and may lay as many as 3,000 or more.

Indian Wax Scale

Indian Wax Scale

Damage : Indian Wax Scale feeds on Chinese and Japanese hollies, azaleas, pyracantha, euonymus, boxwood, flowering quince, camellia, pear, azalea, persimmon, plum, barberry, and magnolia.Damage Symptoms: This scale is large enough that its mere appearance is aesthetically unpleasing.Heavy populations can cause dieback of the infested plant.

Control: Handpicking scales in winter is an effective control measure. Since they may lay their eggs apart from their host plant, the scales should be destroyed after removal and not just knocked to the ground. The Indian wax scale seems to be one of the most difficult ornamental plant pests to control during much of the year. This is partly due to the fact that the insect is protected from contact insecticides by a waxy cover. However, the crawlers are extremely susceptible to pesticides. Therefore control measures should target the crawler stage. Insecticides with systemic activity will also help get insecticide to the feeding insects.

Indian Wax Scale

Indian Wax Scale

Because there is only one generation per year, applying carbaryl or a pyrethroid to the crawler stage in early June will give effective control. Several formulations of carbaryl are available. However, these products are extremely detrimental to natural enemies and other nontarget insects. Available products with systemic activity, reside within the plant and are less harmful to natural enemies. Conserving natural enemies reduces the likelihood that pests will rebound or that a secondary pest will outbreak.

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