How to Get Rid of Scale Insects | Step by Step Guide

Do you know how to get rid of scale insects? Scale insects are small pests that often go unnoticed by homeowners until their damage is made apparent.

You don’t have to worry, pestclue got you covered with DIY hacks on how to get rid of common household pests.

Scale insects can kill or stunt the growth of plants cause black mold to form on leaves or even attract activity from other pests like ants or wasps.

Scale insects may be tiny but if ignored, they can create problems with seemingly healthy plants. Meanwhile, in this article, you will learn how to identify and get rid of scale insects.


Description: How to Identify Scale Insects

Identifying the pest infesting your property should be the first step to ensure what exactly you’re dealing with.

Scale insects are small round or elliptical insects that vary in size but are generally between 1 to 2 mm in length.

Scale insects can be divided into two groups, armored scales, and soft scales.

Armored scales have their own dry protective covering, while soft scales need to produce waxy shells and honeydew.

Honeydew is a sugary waste material that can attract other pests like ants or wasps.

When this material is left on consumed, it eventually rods and invites a black fungus called sooty mold to overtake plant leaves.

In a scale investigation, you’ll generally only see the female scale insects showcase an extreme case of sexual dimorphism for the males.

And females of the same species vary greatly in appearance, female scales resemble little bumps or like their namesake fish scales growing along the side of a plant leaf.

They have no legs and cannot move, once they have chosen where to feed, male scales are rare to encounter and they resemble flying insects.

They have a head thorax and abdomen, a pair of antenna, eyes, and 6 legs. Most species even have functional wings and tail filaments depending on the species.

Going through one or two generations per year, most species hatch from eggs.


Read also: How to Get Rid of Mole Cricket | DIY Mole Cricket Control


Picture of Scale Insects

How To Get Rid Of Scale Insects
Scale Insects


What do Scale Insects Eat?

Once, you know what your pest looks like, check around your property to confirm their presence or what do they eat as it could attract them.

Depending on the species scale insects, they will feed on trees, shrubs, or even house plants on herbaceous plants.

You can often find scales settling along stems or leaf veins since those are the biggest sources of moisture.

In plants, you can also find scale insects on fruits or underneath the bark.


Read also: Grasshopper Infestation | How to Get Rid of Grasshoppers


Signs of Scale Insects Infestation

If you suspect heavy pest activity, be on the lookout for the common signs of an infestation which could be:

  • Yellow dying leaves.
  • Honeydew drippings.
  • Black sooty mold from running honeydew.
  • Warped or stunted plant growth.
  • Some types of scale insects like mealybugs will produce cotton-like webbing as well.

Take note of where you find scale insects or signs of their activities, as you’ll use this information to direct your treatment.


Read also: Centipede Infestation: How to Get Rid of Centipede Infestation


How to Get Rid of Scale Insects

After identifying, and inspecting for pest activity on your property. It’s time to start treatment.

Don’t forget, before starting any treatment, ensure to wear your personal protective equipment or PPE, and remember to keep all people and pets off the treated areas until dry.

To get rid of scale insects in large areas, You’ll need to use a pesticide like Dominion 2L.


Applying Dominion 2L Insecticide

Dominion 2L is a systemic insecticide, meaning, it will get absorbed into treated plants and will kill pests that feed on those plants.

This is great because many pesticides are not effective on scale insects, their shells or waxy coating take them from most direct.


How to Apply

  • Spray applications of Dominion 2L are recommended for treating larger plants, and landscaping ornamentals.
  • Use a hose-end sprayer to easily make large-volume applications of Dominion 2L.
  • Using a rate of 0.4 to 0.6 fluid ounces, per 1,000 square feet with at least ten gallons of water.


How to Get Rid of Scale Insects on Trees and Shrubs

Getting rid of scale insects on trees and shrubs will require you to measure the area differently for trees.

You’ll need to measure the diameter of the tree trunk in inches and height.


How to Apply

  • Apply Dominion 2L at a rate of 0.1 to 0.4 fluid ounces per inch of trunk diameter.
  • Using at least ten gallons of water for shrubs. You’ll need to apply Dominion 2L at a rate of 0.1 to 0.25 fluid ounces per foot of shrub.
  • For height application, use the 20-gallon hose-end sprayer, remove the reservoir from the nozzle.
  • Ensure the sprayers control valve and your water pump are off, then attach the nozzle to the hose at the proper amount of dominion 2L.
  • Then fill the reservoir with enough water to treat the entire area.
  • Ensure your control valve and water pump remain off.
  • Once you have ensured a tight connection, you can now turn the water on to spray.

The most effective way to apply Dominion 2L on-scale insects control is to apply in a high volume around the base of the plant so that they can effectively reach the plants down to the root zone.

Focus on getting the solution down to where the plant roots reside for flowers and ground cover.

You will want to apply in a similar fashion evenly broadcasting the solution on and around the plants.

It’s recommended that you water the area after application to further drive the Dominion 2L solution down to the plant’s root zone.

Note: Dominion 2L is a systemic insecticide. It is toxic to any labeled insect that feeds on the treated plant including bees.

Do not apply Dominion 2L when bees and other pollinators are active to avoid harm.


How to Get Rid of Scale Insects on Houseplants

To get rid of scale insects on houseplants, you may want to use different options that can be used in small volumes for smaller plants.

You can use either a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and apply to individual scale insects but for larger infestations use a spray.


How does it work?

  • Feel the spray bottle with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Spray the isopropyl alcohol directly on any scale insects, it will immediately burn affected scale insects and kill them quickly.
  • Using alcohol on plants is generally safe for the plant. Do not spray a small section of the plant to look for any damage.


How to Prevent Scale Insects Infestation

Prevention is essential to keeping pests in check. Even after you’ve applied insecticides.

The best way to stop scale insects activity is to prevent damage from scale insects.

It’s best to be diligent in monitoring your plants, checking for activity, and spraying your plants when necessary.

Observe the health of your plants and when something doesn’t seem right, address the problem as soon as possible.

If you find scale insects infesting an indoor plant, be sure to isolate it from other plants to contain the population until it’s eliminated Outdoors.

You can attract beneficial insects like ladybugs by growing certain plants in your garden that those insects love.

Ladybugs are natural predators for scale insects and others sucking insects.

Use them as a natural deterrent for future pest activity. Finally, ensure to make re-applications of Dominion 2L quarterly.

The product will remain effective for up to 90 days, killing pests that attempt to feed on treated plants.



Scale insects are small insects that can cause serious damage to plants in your yard and potentially other pests like ants or wasps.

Following this DIY guide on how to get rid of scale insects, you will control scale insects and eliminate them from your property.

Keep visiting pestclue for more DIY hacks on pest and pest control, do well to share!

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