Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:44 pm
For you as a plant lover, scale insects can become a real nightmare. Again and again, they go over to neighboring plants and thus damage several plants at home. So that it does not even come so far, we want to show you various home remedies with which you can best fight the scale insects. In addition, we will show you how you can best prevent or fight an infestation of scale insects using three (indoor) plants.
- 1 Scale insect background: The life of scale insects
- 2 How do the scale insects damage the plant?
- 3 Scale insect damage pattern
- 4 What are the causes of scale insect infestation?
- 5 Fighting scale insects: 5 home remedies that help
- 6 Nettle
- 7 Curd soap mixture
- 8 Oregano
- 9 Garlic
- 10 Bicarbonate of soda
- 11 Scale insects on oleander
- 12 How to combat scale insects on oleander
- 13 Scale insects on orchids
- 14 How to fight scale insects on orchids
- 15 Scale insects on palms
- 16 How to control scale insects on palms
- 17 Never again scale insects in your home!
- 18 Author
Scale insect background: The life of scale insects
Worldwide there are more than 4000 species of scale insects. About 90 of them are found in Central Europe. They infest useful and ornamental plants and can be found outdoors, but also in your home. The animals, which can grow up to six millimeters in size, owe their name to their waxy shield, which can reach two millimeters in diameter. It consists of resin or wax and serves as protection against predators and for egg laying. The larvae of the scale insects can develop excellently under the shield. The best known scale insects include: Cover scale insects, cup scale insects and mealybugs.
How do the scale insects damage the plant?
Mainly females live on the different parts of the plant to take their food. They have a stinging proboscis with which they suck the shoots, petioles and leaves of an infested plant. This removes valuable nutrients from the plant. The males cannot eat because they lack mouthparts. Thus, only the females are actually the ones that harm the plant. Depending on the species, the scale insects can also release poison into the plant in addition to sucking, or they produce honeydew like the aphids. This, in turn, is an ideal breeding ground for certain types of fungi. This puts a double burden on the plant.
Scale insect damage pattern
Unfortunately, infestation by scale insects becomes noticeable only very late, because the little animals live at the beginning quite inconspicuously on the underside of the leaf and in the leaf axils. Therefore, it is difficult to detect them at an early stage. If the damage can be seen externally, then the infestation is usually already well advanced. Leaves lying on the ground, brown spots or bumps on the leaves, unopened buds, sunken flowers, all these are indications that point to infestation by scale insects. If this is the case, then you should take urgent action to control the scale insects.
What are the causes of scale insect infestation?
As with most pests, improper care is the main cause of a scale insect infestation. If you don’t care for your plant properly, it won’t have enough defenses to defend itself against pests. Improper care can be caused by waterlogging, lack of water, over-fertilization with chemicals, low humidity, or too dark a location.
Tip: Make sure your plant gets plenty of light during the winter months, water it with a balanced amount of water and provide a good nutrient-rich soil. Then nothing will stand in the way of healthy plant growth!
Fighting scale insects: 5 home remedies that help
These five remedies you can use without hesitation to fight the scale insects in your home. Since they are biological means, you also protect the environment at the same time.
Use either 200 g of fresh nettles or 20 g of dried leaves. Chop them and pour cold water over them. You should then leave the mixture to infuse for about eight hours.
After that, pour the mixture through a sieve to catch the leaves and spread the solution on the affected plant with the help of a spray bottle.
Curd soap mixture
To combat scale insects, curd soap is also very suitable, because it does not contain excess fat and is free of fragrances and dyes. For the mixture you need 50 g of organic curd soap (without palm oil). Dissolve the grated curd soap in a liter of warm water. The cooled mixture you fill like the nettle decoction in a spray bottle to spray specifically the affected plant parts.
Besides the nettle decoction, oregano from the garden can also help. For the solution you need to pour 100 g of fresh oregano, alternatively 10 g of dried oregano, with a liter of boiling water.
After 15-20 minutes you can pour the broth through a sieve. However, you should always apply the decoction diluted with water in the ratio of 3:1 to the plant with a spray bottle.
Garlic is available in just about every household, so it’s perfect as a remedy for scale insects. You can either stick a clove of garlic in the soil, or make a decoction of garlic that is a bit more effective. For the preparation you need 50 g of fresh, chopped garlic, which you pour with 1.5 L of boiling water. Allow the garlic to infuse for at least 30 minutes, so that the active ingredients of the garlic can unfold perfectly. Afterwards, you can pour the cooled mixture through a sieve into a spray bottle and spray it on the affected parts of the plant.
Bicarbonate of soda
For the sodium bicarbonate spray, simply dissolve ½ tsp of sodium bicarbonate in a liter of water. If you add a splash of vegetable oil or alcohol, the effect will be even more effective.
Scale insects on oleander
Scale insects are a common maintenance problem with oleander, as with other potted plants. To prevent scale insects from making themselves comfortable on your plant, there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for an oleander. Make sure your plant overwinters in a cool location, between 5-10 degrees, during the winter months. This will make it harder for pests to multiply. You should also repot the oleander regularly to ensure healthy growth. Fresh plant soil provides sufficient nutrients and increases the resistance of the plant.
How to combat scale insects on oleander
If the leaves of the oleander have already turned yellow, you should remove them immediately. A proven home remedy is soapy water. To fight the scale insects, simply mix 1 tablespoon of soft or curd soap in 1 liter of water. Spray the solution on the oleander wherever you can see the scale insects. This will block the airways of the scale insects and they will die. Repeat spraying two to four times.
Scale insects on orchids
If the leaves of your orchid are wilted or even deformed, this is often an indication of scale insects. Since they are very common on orchids, you should fight the scale insects quickly, otherwise they will cause lasting damage to the plant. Also with the orchid it depends on the right care: the basis for a healthy plant in your home.
How to fight scale insects on orchids
To fight the scale insects on your beloved orchid, there is a very simple home remedy. Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil in 1 liter of water. Add a splash of washing-up liquid. You can apply the emulsion to the orchid with a spray bottle. Repeat the spraying preferably every 14 days, so that the scale insects die out completely.
Scale insects on palms
In addition to oleander and orchids, unfortunately palm trees are often infested with scale insects. If the plant is weakened and sick, the little animals have it even easier.
Incorrect lighting conditions, too high temperatures or dry heating air lead to an unhealthy plant that cannot defend itself sufficiently against pests.
How to control scale insects on palms
A simple home remedy for palms is the solution of spirit and soft soap. Mix 30 g of soft soap with 30 ml of alcohol and then spray the mixture on the affected areas. This will affect the respiratory system of the scale insects and they will die. Due to the strong alcoholic smell, however, this home remedy can only be used indoors to a limited extent. It is best to place your plant on the balcony or terrace.
Never again scale insects in your home!
Scale insects are one of the most annoying pests, but you should not despair of them. The most important thing is to check your plants regularly for pests, because only then you can detect them early and fight them before it is too late. For the time being, always use biological means, because they harm your plant less than chemical means. After all, only the scale insects should die and not the plant itself!