Red Scales

 In Blog, Homeowner Tips, Pest Identification
ants and red scale insects

ants and red scale insects (Photo credit: sunphlo)

The red scale, also known as the California red scale, is a citrus pest native to southern China. Although especially fond of citrus trees, red scales can also be found on more than 70 other types of plants, most notably pumpkin and potato plants. These insects can significantly decrease fruit production, causing trouble for large-scale citrus growers. Fortunately, pesticides, predator insects, and other biological control methods can help to control these damaging insects.

Red Scale Damage

A female red scale may lay up to 150 eggs in her lifetime, so that a multitude of generations may feed on the same host plant. Nymphs hatch quickly and soon begin to search for areas on a plant or tree in which they can settle and begin their feeding. Often, the nymphs will begin by inserting their mouth parts into the leaves or fruit and sucking out sap. In the process they also insert their saliva into the bark, leaves, or fruit of the plant in question, and unfortunately that saliva is very toxic to and may result in irreversible plant damage.

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