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Learn the Difference between Organic and Natural


Aphids - Garden Insect Library - Saferbrand


Scale insects can be devastating to fruits, ornamentals, trees and houseplants if the infestation is severe. Two of the more common types are the armored scale and the soft scale.


Since scale suck the sap or juices from plants and plant leaves, the leaves may turn yellow and fall off. The plant may die.





Natural & Organic Controls


Insecticidal soap, made from potassium salt of fatty acids, and neem oil products work very effectively in controlling scale.



Insecticidal soap, made from potassium salt of fatty acids, works by penetrating and destroying the outer shell or membrane of the insect causing it to dehydrate and die.

Neem oil safely controls scale


Neem oil products work very effectively by suffocating the insect.

Use all neem oil products by following the instructions since, as an oil, there is greater risk of phototoxicity (burning). Avoid using sulfur based fungicides within the active period of the neem oil product. These two products combined greatly increase the risk of plant burn.


Safer® Brand offers a variety of scale insect control products to help control and eliminate this garden pest and revive your plants. Please check out our scale insect control products for more details about how they work and how, when, and where they should be applied.


Carefully read and follow all instructions on the product packaging for safe and effective result. It is recommended with any pesticide to test plants for sensitivity to the product. Spray a small section of the plant in an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours before applying full coverage.



Best time to apply treatment is when crawlers are present. Usual calendar times are April, late May-early June, and September, depending on the scale species.

CottonyMaple Leaf Scale

Since these formulas are contact killers and they do not persist in the environment, several applications may be needed for full control.  As a general rule, much like watering, do not use these products in the peak of the day or when temperatures exceed 90 degrees F to avoid wilting or browning of the leaves.


Why Choose a Natural Solution?

Insecticidal soaps and neem oils are safe to use around children and pets. They break down into their natural elements within 7-10 days leaving no residual impact on the environment.


They are highly preferable to chemical pesticides with toxins that can kill beneficial insects and cause long-term detrimental affects on the environment. Another negative effect of the chemical pesticides is scale's possible buildup of resistance to the chemicals in the pesticides.





Natural Predators


Parasitic wasps and predatory beetles may help effectively control an infestation of scale.



These predatory insects will eat the scale or lay their eggs inside the scale, nymph or eggs.  Some of these parasitic and predatory insects can be attracted through the planting of pollen or nectar producing plants.


parasitic wasps

To aid the organic gardener, parasitic wasps and other parasitic insects can be purchased through a commercial insect breeder. Make sure if you purchase these insects you have an actual garden insect infestation or you may notice parasitic wasps migrating to your neighbors yard in search of food.



In the spring, parasitic insects may lay their eggs in the larvae of scale insects.  Since scale can be at different stages throughout the entire growing season, predatory insects should be beneficial throughout that whole time.


Plant nectar or pollen producing plants as indicated by the temperature and climate zone of your area. Most greenhouses and garden centers can help you determine the right planting time to ensure the pollen and nectar will be available for the predators when they arrive.





Environmental Controls


Physically observing and removing scale from plantings is a control method that, when used in conjuction with other methods, can help effectively
reduce scale problems or infestations.



Check your trees, shrubs, and other plantings for scale.  Cut and discard any affected branches containing the scale. You can physically remove soft scale from plantings with your fingernail or soft brush or cloth. When removing the scale, add soap to the water, then rinse fully.



Check throughout the growing season for scale since they can be at different stages throughout the entire season. Check in the fall and winter for overwintering eggs and remove the infested branches immediately, before they have a chance to hatch.






Images courtesy of Oklahoma State University and Forestry
For a complete list of content sources please visit our site bibliography page



Safer®Brand brings you a variety of effective insect control products that are gentler on the environment! Most of them proudly display the OMRI Listed® organic seal and comply for use in organic gardening!


organic gardening products with the OMRI listed seal