Garden Rows

Tuesday, September 27

Scale-y Aloe

The scale is back.  Every so often I do battle with this pesky little bug.

Pretty good looking aloe huh?  Lets take a closer look, shall we.

Scale has armor that is too tough for just a spray attack.  I have to go in fingernail deep and get dirty.  Squishing these pesky things is the most effective way to actually kill them.

These little suckers attach them self to a spot on a plant and do not move (they are immobile) and stay there just drinking the life out of the leaves, one by one.

The tell-tail signs that scale have visited a leaf are shown above.  It looks like small holes have been burned into the leaf and it shrivels and turns yellow before finally dying and falling off.

Scale really like my aloe.  I have actually lost an entire pot of aloe to these tiny vampires.  Don't think I didn't fight!  I used a mild soap and water solution once or twice a week thinking they might suffocate (maybe I should have tried holy water).  I even re-potted with fresh soil and cleaned each individual leaf of each plant with neem oil. Eventually I was able to save one of the pots of aloe.

I found a few baby aloe plants today as I went pinching and poking my way through the armored bugs.  Some of the plants that had been fairly damaged were sending out roots towards the top healthy parts of the plants in hopes of survival.

I decided it would be in their best interest to not return them to the pot seeing as they are so young and juicy, they would make a delicious meal for a battalion of hungry scale soldiers.

If you notice you have a plant that has been invaded, get ready for battle.  Separate it from any other plants.  There are thousands of species of scale, and they vary greatly in what they can do and how they function.  Though the basic bit is that they suck the sap from the plant's vascular system.  While the actual scale bug is immobile (I think the female stays this way through her life) there are some (I think the male) that can move.  Infestations can spread quickly.  Be persistent, the moment you back down they will regain all the ground that took you so long to attain.  Web sites say to toss the plant if the infestation is too bad.  Hmm, how determined are YOU?

I got some info from wikipedia, and gardening know how

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