Scale Insects are sap-sucking pests that attach themselves to a plant's leaves, twigs, branches, and fruits. They are commonly found in trees, shrubs, greenhouses, and houseplants.
Scale insects can resemble bumps that look like armored shells that are not attached to the body. These specific types of scale insects do not secrete honeydew.
Another specific type of scale insect has a softshell that is a waxy film with a body that can be flat or sphere-like. Unlike their hardshell counterparts, they do secrete honeydew.
Females who can reproduce without mating, deposit their eggs under their protective shell, which hatches anywhere between one to three weeks. Young nymphs emerge from their mother's shell and move around to find a suitable host plant for feeding.
Once found they feed by piercing the plant with their mouthparts and continuing their feeding cycle until they build their own armored shells and grow to become an adult.
Damage caused by heavy infestations often goes unnoticed until plants begin to show poor growth, yellowing leaves, and death.
For natural control of scale, insects prune plants and dispose of any infested leaves, twigs, and branches. If the insects are minimal, they can be picked off of plants by hand.
The pests can be eliminated by rubbing an alcohol-soaked cotton ball on affected areas of the plant.
Beneficial insects like the lady beetle are natural predators that can be introduced to the plants to eliminate the scale insect's young larvae. Keep in mind, if you notice any ants near the affected plants, they will protect the scale insects and their larvae from the lady beetles and other natural predators.