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How to recognize soft scales

Soft scales are a common pest on many different plants. They are named after their round appearance, which is caused by their scale cover. The young stages of different soft scale species are flat, lightly colored and very difficult to distinguish from one anotherOnly the adult females have the cap-shaped covers which can be used for recognition of the species. The scale cover is fused with the body. The eggs are deposited underneath the cover.The first stage, also called crawlers, will hatch from the eggs. The first stage is very active and will quickly spread throughout the plant. Older stages will settle in one spot, usually parallel to the veins of the leaf or on the stem.  

Soft scales have a broad host range. Greenhouse crops that are affected are mainly woody plants, but also several annuals can be damaged. Well-known host plant plants are Anthurium, Asplenium, FicusCoffea, citrus, oleander and olive. In addition, outdoor plants like linden and chestnut trees and hydrangea can be affected. 

Hemispherical scale Saissetia coffeae
Different stages of the hemispherical scale

Damage by soft scales

Soft scales have a sap-sucking feeding style, which causes cosmetic damage. In addition, reduced growth and deformed leaves can be caused by soft scale feeding. All soft species produce honeydew, which can make the leaves sticky. The honeydew can also act as a growth medium for black sooty mold fungus. This fungus reduces photosynthesis which increases the hampering effect on plant development.

Common soft scales

Brown
soft scale
Hemispherical
scale
Black
scale
Horse chestnut scale
Hydrangea scale
Cottony camelia scale

How to control soft scales

Biological control of soft scales can be done with parasitoids. All most all biocontrol agents that are available to control soft scales are parasitoids. Several parasitoid species can be used to control multiple soft scale species. One real specialist that is available to us, is the parasitoid Micoterys nietneri. This parasitoid only controls brown soft scale, but does this very well in many different conditions and crops. The other products differ from each other by their preference for certain soft scale species or stages. 

Parasitoid COCCIN - Microterys nietneri - female biological control of brown soft scale
Microterys nietneri: The best parasitoid against brown soft scale

Our products against soft scales

MICROTERYS NIETNERI

Effective against
- Brown soft scale

COCCOPHAGUS SCUTELLARIS

Effective agains
- Many different soft scale species

METAPHYCUS FLAVUS

Effective against
- Brown soft scale
- Hemispherical scale

EXOCHOMUS QUADRIPUSTULATUS against pulvinaria scale

EXOCHOMUS
QUADRIPUSTULATUS

Effective against
- Several soft scales
- Several (woolly) aphids