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What are those little shiny things on my houseplants?

By: Angelia Daugirda

What are those little shiny things on my houseplants?

This week's pesky pest is…(We know how exciting this is!)  SCALE

What to look for? 

Scale doesn't look like your typical insect. It is oval shaped, 3-4mm big, and only mobile when young, once they reach maturity, they literally stick around in one place and do some damage. Waxy looking and armored, they clump up on stems and underside of leaves and suck away.

Take a peek at the underside and surface of your plant’s leaves.  See some shiny sticky residue and there are some teeny tiny brown nubs stuck to the stem and leaves?  You have scale!

How to get rid of them? 

Well, you need to get the adults if you are going to solve this one. Are you ready for the strange part?  Scale reproduces by mating, which is what we would expect, and wait for it, wait for it…they also reproduce without fertilization, no mate, just spontaneous development of eggs.  Oh geez!  Then to top it off, they give birth to live babies, not eggs.  Mama scales hatch their eggs inside their bodies. Amazing stuff!  So, that is why getting to those adults as soon as possible is your first line of defense!

Step 1: Get yourself some rosemary insecticidal soap, place a plastic bag around the pot and tie off around the stem (this prevents the scale from falling into the soil.

Step 2: Place your scale hotel (aka your plant) in the sink or bathtub, start washing your plant with the soap.

Step 3: Get in every nook and cranny and pick off those lil buggers.  Using an old toothbrush is the perfect tool for the job.  Gently scrub the leaves and stems and repeat several times. 

Step 4: Inspect your plant well, if you have a magnifying glass, use it. They are tough to see, great at camouflaging.

Step 5: Rinse your plant well (blasting it with the shower head or hose is a great way to knock them off).

Step 6: Inspect again, and then let your plant dry off naturally.

Keep an eye on your plant every 4-5 days. If you see any buggers, repeat the above.

Remember...keeping your houseplants well fed is the first line of defense.  We suggest feeding all of your indoor and outdoor plants with a dose of our Organic All Purpose Fertilizer once a month.  A healthy plant is a happy plant!

Good luck! May your houseplants be amazing!

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