Have you ever had some uninvited guests, those that just all of a sudden arrived by the hordes. How do you handle them and what do you do about them…
We recently had some guests of our own which just came from nowhere. So what is the first thing you do when you do not know… GOOGLE…
Pink wax scales (Ceroplastes Rubens)
These were our univited guests as they appear worldwide in warm climate areas. They are particularly common on fruit and forest trees, as our guests were found on the bayleaf tree. These scales are hosts on citrus and mango trees but are also pests on avocado, coffee and litchi. They feed on the leaves, stems, branches and fruit of their hosts sucking out the sap from the plants. The excess is then expelled as honeydew, covering the foliage with a sugary substance, which become colonised by a black fungal growth. Ants tend the scales to collect the honeydew.
Under the pink pale hard shell of the female, the eggs will appear red. Once the “crawlers” hatch from the eggs, they will spread to feeding sites nearby. The waxy shell, which starts of as being white and then later turns pink, will be produced as they settle down and moult. They moult several times more before they become adults, slightly longer (3-4 mm) than wide, domed, with four bands or lobes on the sides and a depression at the top. Thus the name pink scale as they look like a blob of white, cream, pink or reddish wax.
The most natural way to get rid of these scales is through its own enemies; Anicetus beneficus, a (encyrtid) wasp and; Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, a ladybird beetle. We did however opt for an easier way rather than having to go and find these insects, neem oil. Neem oil is natural and will not harm the plants or other beneficial insects.
To find out more about the use of neem oil please follow the link:
You can however control the scales with your own soap or oil spray. You can make a soap or oil spray as follows:
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil in 4 litres of water
- 1/2 teaspoon detergent soap
- Shake well and use
- 5 tablespoons of soap (not detergent) in 4 litres of water OR
- 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in 4 litres of water
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