New soft scale insect known as Croton Scale no infests over 72 plants in South Florida, learn how to identify it, control it, and treat it with same products we use.
Croton Scale Control
The new croton scale was ﬁrst collected by Lynn Howerton (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services- Division of Plant Industry plant inspector) on the stems of a croton (Codiaeum variegatum) since then samples have been collected from 21 Florida Counties it is now believed to established in 5 counties Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Lee and Collier counties.
The New Croton Scale now infests an estimated 72 types of plants in South Florida. Identifying them is not easy for most people, first of all Croton Scale does not look like your typical insect, meaning it does not have the typical characteristics of what you would consider an insect like 6 legs, 2 antennas, and 3 body parts a head, thorax and abdomen. Instead, this insect tends to blend in it looks likes it’s part of the plant green and smooth it looks more like little lumps and humps on the stems. Croton Scale can be confused with other scale insects as Florida Wax Scale or Lobate Lac Scale.
What most people notice is the black sooty mold growing on their plants which is a fungi growing on the leaves because a sticky substance the croton scale excrete called honeydew, inevitably most people think they have a fungus on their plants and they run down to their local home improvement store to look for something that cures mold on plants taking it home, treating their plant with it not knowing that the cause of their problem is not the mold but the scale, meanwhile the Croton Scale is still living sucking the life out of there plant.
The mold is an effect not the cause, if you kill the scale the mold typically goes away on its own when the fungi has no more honeydew to feed on and rain or irrigation washes both away.
When I first encountered this new Croton Scale I did what any normal pest control operator would do, I scratched my head and pondered what could this be. After which I Googled Croton Scale because I knew it was a scale on my croton, and to my surprise there it was, after a positive ID for a new soft scale insect I went back and sprayed it, and sprayed it again and again. I managed to get control but if you only see a plant every two months you know a lot can happen in two months, what I noticed was the incredible rate that this scale multiplied and quickly realized how a spray program would not control this new Croton Scale.
My customers don’t pay me to spray pesticide they pay me to make their lawns and gardens look spectacular. I have a policy about pest control procedures, I will use a natural pesticide spray to control insects if it will control it until I get back in one or two months if it doesn’t I will switch procedures and put that plant on systemic treatments, the last thing a customer wants to hear is “well I sprayed it”. I have found that if a natural pesticide won’t control neither will a synthetic pesticide or at least not much better since they don’t last that much longer than a natural pesticide even foliar systemics that translocate to the leafs at best last 28 days. I don’t like roller coasters.
I currently get 10 to 12 months of control on most woody ornamentals with just one application of Imidacloprid 21.4% at the low rate, with the exception of two ive found Gumbo Limbo and Duranta Gold Mound which I get 3 months this is not a failure on the product but rather the way the Imidicloprid behaves in these species or at least how the species treats it. No one knows .
I use and recommend Dominion 2L Termicide /Insecticide why because It gets me the results my customers expect long-term control, fewer applications, superior plant esthetics. It is labeled for treatment of trees, lawns and shrubs check label for details. For the sooty mold you can spray a solution of ivory dish washing soap diluted at .5 oz to 1 oz per gallon and use a one gallon sprayer or mix one teaspoon in a spray bottle.
To See List of all Infested Species by Croton Scale go to this link http://journals.fcla.edu/flaent/article/view/76044/73702