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  • How do I kill scale on houseplants?

    Created by Marjie on

    I just discarded a houseplant that was covered in scale insects. Another plant was touching it and several plants were around it. Can you please tell me what I should purchase to clean the area that’s safe for cats? Also, should I be treating all of the plants in the room as a preventive and, if so, how and with what? This scale had a sticky substance on the top of the leaves and tan bumps underneath. Hopefully that will help you answer my inquiry…

    Many thanks!!!

  • Author
  • #259821

    Eric Vinje

    Hi Marjie –

    Scale insects are common on ​many ​houseplants and often build up unnoticed before plants begin to show damage.The good news is, that most adult scales live and feed under their protective armor covering and do NOT move about the plant. However, care must be taken that ​their ​​mobile nymphs, sometimes called crawlers, do not migrate out from under this covering and attack other ​parts of the ​same plant ​or even nearby plants.

    To prevent and treat many insect pests, including scales, on indoor plants we strongly recommend neem oil.​ ​Cold-pressed from the fruits, seeds and bark of an evergreen tree (Azadiracta indica) native to India, neem oil​ ​is 100% natural and safe to use. It will not persist in the environment and is ​non-toxic to people, pets and many beneficial insects.

    Easy to use, just mix 1/2 – 2 tsp per quart of warm water with a couple drops of mild dishwashing soap (used as a surfactant) and spray the diluted solution generously over all leaf surfaces, including the undersides. Apply every 2-4 days for a two week period. This schedule will help break the life-cycle of many indoor plant pests commonly found on houseplants. Do NOT apply in direct sunlight or under plant grow lights.

    Good luck!

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