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Juniper Scale

Juniper Scale, Carulaspis juniperi (Bouche), an introduced pest of European origin, is an occasional problem in the connecticut landscape. It feeds on the stems or leaves of the host plant, with moderate infestations resulting in unsightly brown patches. The insect will often go unnoticed until the plant declines or dies if the infection is severe.

Juniper Scale

Juniper Scale

Eggs hatch into yellow first instar nymphs called crawlers. The female’s waxy cover is parchmentlike, white with a circular, slightly convex, yellow center that is about 1.5 mm in diameter . The white waxy cover of the male is smaller and oblong shaped. Mature males emerge as winged insects that resemble tiny wasps walking on an infested twig.

Life cycle:This species overwinters as mature fertilized females. In spring they lay an average of 40 eggs around mid-May that hatch into crawlers in 10-14 days. Crawlers seek a new feeding site on the host plant. Females go through three growth stages prior to reaching maturity while the male goes through five. In late summer males emerge, mate with females, and then die. There is one generation each year in Connecticut.

Damage:The first indication of plant injury caused by this scale insect is the loss of normal lustrous color. As an infestation becomes more severe, foliage on individual branches will look chlorotic or yellow and may eventually die. Entire plants are known to die as the result of severe infestations.Scale insects feed on plant sap. They have long, threadlike mouthparts six to eight times longer than the insect itself. Feeding by scales slowly reduces plant vigor. Heavily infested plants grow poorly and may suffer dieback of twigs and branches. Occasionally, an infested host will be so weakened that it dies.

Juniper Scale

Juniper Scale

Control:Scales tend to thrive on stressed plants. Following a recommended fertility program and watering regime will promote plant health. However, over-fertilization favors scale buildup. If practical, improve plant sites to reduce stress and promote growth. Severely prune back heavily infested branches and protect new growth with insecticide applications. Insecticidal soaps are long chain fatty acids that kill susceptible insects through direct contact. Like horticultural oils, they require thorough coverage.

Soaps leave no residue so repeated applications may be needed for some pests. These products may burn the foliage of sensitive plants, such as Japanese maple, so check the label for information about the plant species that you intend to treat.A variety of natural and synthetic insecticides are labeled for use as sprays to control scale crawlers on landscape trees and shrubs. While the residual life of these products is generally longer than oils and soaps, timing, coverage, and precautions on damage to some plant species are very similar to those for oils and soaps.

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