Pest Problems Explained – HARD SCALE INSECT

Hard Scale Insect Description

Hard scale insects are small pests that also consume plant juices but have no legs so cannot move.  They secrete a waxy material mixed with waste products as a kind of shell over the top of their body adding to it around the edge on daily basis. They do not produce any sticky honeydew.

Hard Scale Insects on a Plum Tree

Hard Scale Insect Life Cycle

There are many species of hard scales and they usually cause severe damage and dieback of infested shoots. When full grown one can distinguish the elongate males that develop into winged insects from the more rounded females. 

Females produce eggs underneath the protective scale cover where they remain until hatching.  These crawler stages then spread out over the plant or get carried in the wind to new hosts.  Once settled they moult into legless individuals and start to build their waxy cover.