Time to Monitor False Oleander Scales

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False oleander scale, Pseudaulacaspis cockerelli, is a tropical and subtropical pest originally from China. It is common throughout many southern states but just reaches the very warmest parts of southeastern North Carolina. They are producing crawlers now so it is time to monitor their activity and plan management as needed.

False oleander scale on Magnolia grandiflora. Photo: SD Frank

False oleander scale on Magnolia grandiflora. Photo: SD Frank

False oleander scale feeds on the leaves of hundreds of plant species is a major pest of ornamental plants in nurseries and landscapes. It is very common on Magnolia grandiflora in southeastern North Carolina.

False oleander scales are also common pests of plants like accuba, boxwoods, oleander, Hedera spp., and many others.

False oleander scale feeding produces chlorotic spots on leaves and can stunt leaf growth. Heavy infestations can cause leaf loss and general decline of the infested plant. These symptoms are similar to other armored scales that feed on evergreen leaves like euonymus scales on euonymus and tea scales on camellia.

There are several generations of false oleander scale each year and during summer you can generally find all life stages at the same time. This complicates management because crawlers are the most susceptible to insecticides.

Many products are available to help manage armored scales and scales in general. A good place to start is with horticultural oil or insecticidal soaps. You can read about scale management with oils and soaps in a recent article. Other products are listed in the 2017 Southeastern US Pest Control Guide for Nursery Crops and Landscape Plantings.