Have You Checked the Scale Lately?

Ever seen oval yellow-y orange patches show up on your carnivorous plant? I definitely have.

If you’re not already familiar with armored scale, the first time you see it, it looks like it could be some kind of fungus 1414.280x185.clipor growth on the plant (since it doesn’t move). What alarmed me into doing research to figure out what it ACTUALLY was, was the quick decline of my plants health. Armored scale on carnivorous plants can be extremely detrimental! They can come in different colors and shapes, its definitely a strange pest. But often it is an oval shape on your plant that is either flat or bulging out.

I find (armored) scale a little easier to treat than mealybugs since, unlike mealybugs, they are immobile, they don’t move once they mature and attach to a place on your plant. On the other hand, their “armor” makes it so that they aren’t effected by many insecticides. Like mealybugs, you’ll see damage such as deformed leafs and slower growth. I’ve mostly noticed that armored scale like attacking Sarracenia and Darlingtonia, but are not limited to those genera. My weapon of choice is an Acephate based insecticide such as Orthene. This systemic insecticide quickly kills any scale currently on your plant and continues to work to keep baby scale from damaging your plant. This is the product I use which I bought of Amazon and lasts forever, “Orthene 97.4% Acephate 0.773lb Systemic Soluble Insecticde for Turf, Tree & Ornamentals” 

Some scale bulge out more like these.
Some scale bulge out more like these.
The scale seen in this photo are very flat, and more yellow in color.
The scale seen in this photo are very flat, and more yellow in color.

Carnivorous plants are really sensitive to most insecticides, but Orthene seems to be one of the safest insecticides on carnivores. It is great to have on hand for pest emergencies. Be sure to mix as directed, the instructions come with the can.

Just as with any infested plant, isolate the plant immediately and spray it systematically (the can says something like once every 3 weeks or 30 days, be sure to follow its directions) just to really get rid of any scale left in the soil or on the plant. Scale have an intricate life cycle, so while you may kill all of the adults with the first spray, the larvae may still be alive and you want to be sure to catch all of them before they re-infest your plant.

Example of a heavy infestation of scale
Example of a heavy infestation of scale

If you have the luxury to do so (aka haven’t recently repotted your plant), it is good to unpot the plant, completely get rid of the media, wash as much of the media from the roots as possible, and repot it. That way, if there were young scale in the soil, you’re now rid of (most of) them. If you’ve already recently repotted your plant, don’t stress it more by repotting it again. Using Orthene should rid you of armored scale for good. I use one teaspoon of Orthene per gallon of R/O water with the product I recommended and it gets rid of scale very quickly. I have only ever had scale appear on new plants, and after the first treatment I’ve never had an incident of them returning!

Orthene isn’t the only way to get rid of scale, but I personally believe it is the safest insecticide for your plant and the environment. It also happens to be extremely effective especially against armored scale. Orthene is my weapon of choice against them – so I just wanted to share in case you might be trying to figure out what to use against your armored scale!

Feel free to leave questions or comments! Hope this helps and Happy Growing 🙂

Pesticide-Sign-NHE-27307_1000WARNING FOR ALL PESTICIDES: Please use pesticides with care, some can be harmful to the environment AND to you! Use them properly and as directed so that we don’t damage ourselves or the planet we love. Don’t dilute or strengthen the dose of pesticide and don’t use pesticides more often than they are recommended, this can cause for pest resistance which will make them immune to the pesticide. Always properly identify a pest before using any pesticide on it, using the wrong pesticides on specific pests can also lead to resistance. Wear gloves, a mask, goggles/glasses and any other protective gear you might have and only use the pesticides outside in well-circulated areas. If a pesticide is illegal in your area, please don’t try buying it and using it illegally, it is probably illegal for a good reason and there is always another way to treat the pests!

There are always downsides to using pesticides and even in following all the directions, pesticides can have negative effects to the environment. Please feel free to look up the negative effects of pesticides before using if you are concerned about the consequences of using them.


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