Scales are sap sucking insects which look like limpets. They are especially prevalent in gardens where they attack household plants, ornamental plants and fruit bearing plants. They are usually between 1-10 mm long and have 1/4mm thickness. Once mature, they have a shell like covering which protects their bodies. Over 25 species of scales which attack horticultural plants are known.
These insect pests attack and suck the sap of the phloem of any garden plant, thereby depriving the plant of its essential nutrients. They also infest and feed on the sap of the phloem, simultaneously damaging the transport of water within the plant. Thus, the infestation of scales effectively shuts down the intake of the plant and rapidly curtails its flourishing. Since scales can breed all through a year, once a plant gets under a scales attack, the scales multiply very quickly making it difficult to eliminate them.
In order to check for an infestation of scales on the plants, one has to check the plantís stems and bottom side of the leaves. In case of a scale infestation, the bottom side would be covered with shell-like bumps. Many types of scales also secrete honeydew which accumulates at the top of the leaves. In case the plant happens to exist in damp conditions, then the honeydew can cause the creation of a colony of black coloured non-parasitic fungus which is called as a sooty mould. Scale insects also hatch their eggs, which have a protection of white coloured fibres, on the leaves leading to further infestation of the plant.
While chemical fertilizers are known to control scales, the process of spraying the fertilizer leads to over dosage and non-infested leaves getting polluted. Additionally, chemical fertilizers are also expensive. On the other hand, neem oil is a good way to get rid of scales. Since the scales attacks the sap of the leaves and stem, application of neem oil on these parts would result in the scales consuming neem oil. The Azadirachtin, found in neem oil, would then act on the scales causing hormonal changes and slowly but surely destroying the scalescompletely. Since neem oil is organic and eco-friendly it does not cause any harmful side effects to the plant or the other plants of the garden.
Neem oil is a good pesticide against scales and hence of very good use to gardeners.
Author: Janani - Quality Neem oil articles
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