What can upset flower growers more than the appearance of pests on their favorite plants? And if we are talking about such a dangerous insect as a scale insect, it is important to learn as much as possible about it. The article will be useful to those who have already encountered this problem. And also for those who want to get information about where the scale insect comes from on indoor plants, how to deal with it. Photos of the pest will also be presented below.
General description of the pest
Shchitovka is a dangerous enemy of home and garden plants. Even poisonous representatives of the flora can be attacked by this insect. The difficulty in dealing with scale insects on indoor plants lies in the fact that it is difficult to notice in the early stages. Insect larvae are very small, it is almost impossible to see them with the naked eye. An intruder is discovered when the plant shows signs of wilting. But even earlier, during the next watering or spraying, the grower notices a small convex brown growth on any partflower. What kind of "beast" is this? Let's figure it out.
If we turn to the scientific classification, then the scale insect is a representative of the order Hemiptera. For an amateur florist, this says little. It will become a little clearer if we say that bedbugs, for example, belong to the same family. Many people have probably met with these insects. A distinctive characteristic of scale insects is the presence of a shell-shield. Hence the name of the pest. False shields, which are also frequent guests on houseplants, belong to the same family.
What an insect looks like
If, examining the leaves of a plant, you find small bugs, as if stuck to the surface of the flower, then you have an adult female insect in front of you. Below in the photo are scale insects on a houseplant in different stages of development.
In the process of evolution, the female loses the ability to move and remains motionless. Males, on the other hand, move freely within one plant, and move to other flowers thanks to their wings. The life expectancy of males is short - a few days, but this time is enough to fertilize a female.
On indoor plants, scale insects feed on juice. This is facilitated by the device of the oral organs, which is scientifically called piercing-sucking. That is, the insect pierces the top layer of the "victim" and sucks out the nutritious juice.
What a female looks like
As we have already understood, the greatest danger is the female insect. She herself feeds on the juice of plants,and also lays many eggs - future pests. The female is characterized by signs:
- lack of wings and legs, and she also has no eyes and antennae;
- well-developed oral apparatus;
- scutellum in an adult female is easily separated from the calf, under which light brown or white flesh is found;
- the juvenile has a soft shield;
- adult female cannot move, the young one moves freely through the plant;
- scutellum body is round or oval;
- female size varies from 1.5-2mm to 5mm depending on species;
- The color of the shell is usually dark brown with different shades.
What a male looks like
Males are dangerous because, due to their mobility, it is difficult to trace whether all insects have been destroyed. For males, it is characteristic:
- lack of oral apparatus;
- the presence of wings, legs and a large shield;
- the head, chest and belly are clearly visible on the body of the male;
- males can be red, brownish, light orange or reddish grey.
Life cycles of an insect
To effectively deal with the pest, you need to know not only what the scale insect looks like on indoor plants, but also what its “children” are. Almost all insect species reproduce by laying eggs. Their size does not exceed 0.3 mm. The eggs hatch into larvae that go through two growth stages:
- larvae in the first stage are called vagrants, their size does not exceed 0.3 mm;
- larvae of the second stage reach 0.5 mm, havelight shield.
From the first day of life, the larvae spread along the aerial part of the flower and begin to feed on its juice.
What harm does an insect do to plants
If a plant infected with a pest is not treated, it will soon die. Therefore, it is important to regularly inspect the home garden and take timely measures to combat scale insects on indoor plants.
A pest is dangerous not only because it damages the shell of the plant and deprives it of nutrients. Shchitovka allocates the so-called pad - a sweet liquid. One can only guess about the taste of this product, hardly anyone has tried it. But in terms of physical properties, this liquid is sticky and viscous, like honey or sugar syrup. Such a substance contributes to the appearance of fungal diseases.
How the scale insect appears on indoor plants
There are several ways for a pest to enter a home:
- You can encounter a scale insect when acquiring a new plant infected with a pest. If the flower has not been quarantined and has not been inspected, then the plants in the house will be attacked.
- Insect can get into the apartment from the street through the window.
- You can bring a scale insect with soil containing insect larvae.
In addition, there are factors affecting the distribution of scale insects. Insects attack weakened plants more often. This is due to the fact that a he althy plant, unlike a sick one, has a protective mechanism that repels pests. A home flower can weaken due toimproper care, as well as in winter during the heating season. Dry air, drafts, lack of light are factors that contribute to the appearance of scale insects on indoor plants.
Signs of damage to indoor plants
The owners of house palms, citrus plants, cacti, orchids and indoor roses should be afraid of scale insects first of all. Other flowers also suffer from the pest, but less often. Therefore, all flower growers need to know the signs of the appearance of a pest.
A larval insect is hard to see, but an adult is hard to miss. The main thing is to regularly inspect home flowers, pushing the leaves apart, because the scale insect can be on any part of the plant. The shell-shield of the pest looks like a brown scale. Separating the insect from the plant is not easy, but the shield itself can be easily removed from the insect.
The falling fluid secreted by the female scale insect forms a shiny sticky coating. In advanced cases, the pad will drain from the leaves, forming a puddle near the pot. In addition, the infected plant will show signs of wilting - yellowing leaves, lack of flowering, stunting.
We figured out how to recognize the pest, now let's look at methods for getting rid of scale insects on houseplants.
General rules for fighting scale insects
The success of pest control measures depends on at what stage of development you find the insect. Of course, the sooner the better. In the larval stage, a magnifying glass will help to detect the insect. If this stage was overlooked onthe plant has already settled a colony of adults, you need to act immediately.
The first thing to do is to put the infected plants in a room where there are no other flowers. Next, remove the shield from indoor plants. How to deal with a pest mechanically, we will describe in stages:
- Pour crushed laundry soap with warm water (1:10).
- Leave for 20 minutes to infuse.
- Stir the solution and strain using cheesecloth.
- With the resulting infusion, wipe the plant, removing insects, using a cotton swab or soft cloth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush if the leaves are not very soft.
- Leave for 30 minutes to work.
- Wash off the soap solution by giving the plant a warm shower.
There is another recipe using soap suds. It is applied thickly on the leaves and stem of the plant and left for a while. Then rinse with hot water under the shower. Water temperature - no more than 50 °C. Carry out this procedure once a week. In advanced cases, the use of special drugs is indispensable.
If you decide to resort to ready-made preparations, then try more gentle ones first. As a remedy for scale insects on indoor plants, veterinary flea drugs are used. They are not that toxic. Suitable, for example, are: "Butoks", "Neostomozan", "Entomozan". These drugs are sprayed on the infected plant. To prepare the solution, you need one ampouledilute the drug in 1.5 liters of water.
Insecticides are potent drugs against various pests. It is necessary to process plants with them with caution, observing the dosage and safety measures. If the product will be applied with a sprayer (pulverizer), then it is recommended to do the treatment on the street or on the balcony using protective equipment (rubber gloves, goggles, a respirator). We offer a list of popular drugs with the most positive reviews:
- Fitoverm is a preparation of biological origin, non-toxic to humans and animals. To achieve the result, at least 3 sprays with an interval of 1 week are required. To prepare a solution, 2 ml of the substance is diluted in 2 liters of water.
- Aktara is a popular and effective insecticide. It is used for both spraying and watering. Available in different forms: granules and suspension. The solution for spraying is prepared from 1 g of the drug and 1.25 liters of warm water. For irrigation, the concentration will be slightly higher - 1 g per 0.8 l of water. One treatment, most likely, will not be enough. Spend the second 10-12 days after the first. The drug does not require rinsing.
- "Confidor" - a systemic insecticide, has a long period of action. Available in granules and liquid form. For spraying, 1 g of the drug is dissolved in 0.5 liters of water. But for irrigation, the concentration is halved.
In addition to the listed drugs, they use:Actellik, Mospilan, Bankol, Tanrek, Fufanon, Karbofos and others. Buying these funds is not difficult, but you need to consider that there are fakes on sale. Therefore, it is better to buy insecticides in specialized stores.
How to deal with scale insects with the help of chemicals, we figured it out. And for supporters of ecological floriculture, we offer alternative remedies for pests.
Home remedies are recommended when there are few scale insects on indoor plants or for prevention purposes. Proven folk recipes:
- Processing with infusion of garlic gives good results. You need to take 4-5 cloves, grind and pour 250 ml of water. Leave for several hours to infuse in a dark place. Plants are treated with a filtered infusion, after removing insects. It will take 3-4 treatments.
- Onion infusion is prepared as described above. For 250 ml of water take 1 small onion.
- To prepare an infusion of hot peppers, 50 g of a fresh pod is boiled in 0.5 liters of water for 5 minutes. Then some water is added to bring the volume back to 0.5 liters. Leave to infuse for a day. Plants are sprayed with filtered infusion.
Folk remedies are good because they are not toxic to humans and are effective, especially with small amounts of the pest. But even they can cause burns on the leaves of some plants. To avoid this, before use, do a test treatment on a small area to make sure that the product does not harm the room.flower.
In order not to puzzle over where the scale insect came from on indoor plants, and how to deal with it, follow simple rules:
- Purchase soil, pots and seeds in specialized stores. So the chances of bringing the shield into the apartment will be minimal.
- Be sure to quarantine purchased or donated plants, as well as those that you bring from the street. The term of "isolation" is 1 week.
- Treat the plants once a month with mild soapy water.
- Inspect flowers regularly and remove dry, damaged parts.
- Proper care will save you from many problems with your home greenhouse.
Home gardening is not just a pleasant hobby. Caring for plants and watching them grow and bloom, many feel like real creators. And in order for your flowers to always be he althy, provide them with the right care and take timely action if pests are wound up on them.