Scale is a common problem with houseplants and, unfortunately, really easy to miss because they often just look like little shell-like, brownish lumps. Sadly, that disguise combined with the bugs’ ability to create a protective, hard, waxy film means they’re usually able to grow from young nymphs to adults, sucking away at the sap of your plant without being harmed.
Eventually your plant will show signs of an infestation, looking sickly and withered, with yellowing and curling leaves.
How to Handle Scales
There is hope, though! You can treat scales the same way you attack mealybugs. Start by pruning and disposing of the infested branches, leaves, and parts of the plant where the bugs reside.
For mild infestations, use regular rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab to dab each pest. For a more substantial infestation, use an insecticidal soap mixed with water to kill the larvae. You’ll need to continue with several applications until all evidence of the bugs are gone. You can use horticultural oils to smother the insect and get rid of bugs at all stages of growth.
If your plant is heavily infested, it may be best to throw it away.
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