Scale Insect and Horticultural Oil


One of the pesky overwintering pests is the scale insect.  It usually overwinters as an egg or in the adult form.  The winter months are a good time to control this pest, when the plants are dormant.  They can be found on many types of plants like “Manhattan” euonymus, cherry trees, burning bushes, and privet.

How do I get rid of this sap sucking pest?

One of the best and safest ways to control it, is to use a Horticultural Oil treatment.  How does it work?  A trained Tree and Shrub applicator treats the plant, especially at the areas where the scale overwinters.  These areas may include the stems and leaves or needles.  The Horticultural Oil coats the overwintering stage of the insect, closing off its ability to breathe.  In the end, the scale insect suffocates.  Horticultural Oil treatments usually control up to 90% of the pest during this time of year.  Spring, summer, and fall usually clean up the rest.

Scale for Horticultural oil

If my application gets all the scale in a year, why do I need more applications after that?  That is a great question.  Scale insects are extremely large in numbers throughout the landscape and travel from area to area through the air, rain, on birds, and even from people.  Your plants may be free from the scale insect for a little while, but it can be back quickly from even your neighbor’s plants or the local forest.  If you know your neighbor had scale insect too, you can refer them to Virginia Green and earn a referral bonus.