Q: Every June for several years now, our two Norway maples have a soft, sticky white "critter" that looks like a wrinkled snow flake and milky stick substance. Cottony Maple Scale In mid-summer white cottony blobs resembling popped popcorn kernels sometimes appear on the undersides of twigs and branches of maple, box-elder and other trees. Pulvinaria innumerabilis. I have seen them close up and for a bug, they are kind of cute! Mature females are pale to dark brown, convex, and about 3-6 mm long (Fig. The increased cost is justified because the method is VERY effective and may last two or more years, especially if "boosted" by the homeowner with soil applications of imidacloprid, (see below). Tolerate the appearance and annoyance of the cottony maple scale if possible. We often inject dinotefuran at the first visit, followed a few days later by an injection of imidacloprid. Home; Arborist Advice; The cottony maple scale is a large, flat, brown scale insect found on the twigs and branches of various trees. In the United States, it was first found on the east coast, but is rapidly expanding its range. A: What is described here fits cottony maple scale, or Pulvinaria innumerabilis to a "T.". There are many species of scale insects that feed on a wide range of host plants. Our treatment of choice is trunk  injection of dinotefuran, usually supplemented by trunk or ground injection of imidacloprid. We also suggest that HOMEOWNERS drench the soil each fall with Bayer tree and shrub care or other brands of imidacloprid (like Bandit)  to "boost" the imidacloprid level in the tree. Treatment needs to be timed appropriately. Check plants for live scale infestations. Subscribe to MLive.com. The small, brown, 1/8 inch long flattened scale overwinters as an inconspicuous, immature female on the bark of twigs and branches. Cottony Maple Scale starts off as an unnoticeable, brown scale. This is the substance that makes our cars, sidewalks, decks, you name it, sticky in the summer. This now gets into a chick-egg situation. There's not enough space to describe the entire life cycle; suffice it to say these critters are aggressive and do their work silently and mostly out of sight. When honeydew falls from a tree, leaves shouldbe inspected for live soft scales or mealybugs. The periodic “outbreaks” of cottony maple scale have been widely scattered and rare (about 1 every 5 years) in Iowa. Color photographs for 200 scale species and detailed discussion of these and others are available in the California Department of Food and Agriculture publications by Gill listed in References. Cottony Maple Leaf Scale is one of several cottony scales in the genus Pulvinaria. The honeydew is not plant sap. The "cotton" is actually waxy threads covering as many as 1,500 eggs. SCALE INSECTS are the usual cause of sweet, sticky drippage (honey-dew) from trees that collects on surfaces below. Cottony Maple Scale. The cottony maple scale is most easily recognized by the characteristic egg masses on twigs and branches. Cottony Maple Scale . Cottony camellia scale is a soft scale that feeds on camellia, holly, yew, euonymus, sweetbox, and maple. They feed by sucking sap and some can weaken host plants, many excrete a sticky substance (honeydew), which allows the growth of sooty moulds. for longer lasting scale control. All rights reserved (About Us). Scale insect control. Don't feed now as doing so may force out new growth. Pest description and damage Mature cottony maple scale are small, flat, oval, brown insects 0.25 to 0.375 inch in diameter. However, in some years, the scale population increases above “normal” and becomes large enough to get noticed. What the heck is it and can I control it? The white egg sacs burst open in July as the eggs hatch and the immature scales crawl out to the leaves. Keep the maples healthy by watering them deeply in times of dry weather. Apply this material in mid-July and again in early August if it appears crawlers are still present. We have had excellent results, achieving 80 to 90% reduction of scale populations and similar reduction of the honeydew and sooty mold problems. Flip over suspiciouslooking bumps on twigs and branches with a thumbnail. Eggs hatch from mid-June to August. Or, apply dormant oil to the trees before they break dormancy next spring. Look for a local arborist at www.isa-arbor.com. 2) Cottony camellia scale is also known as Cottony taxus scale Scale insects are a unique group, that look quite different from other insects. Adult scale insects are usually covered in waxy shell-like cover. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Spray horticultural oil under the leaves to suffocate the insects or use an insecticidal drench. The cottony white egg sacs of this soft scale appear on undersides of leaves (Figure 1) in May and egg hatch (Figure 2) occurs during June. The egg sac contains 600 to 800 red eggs and may become two to three times as long as the body of the female; the resulting length of the female plus the egg sac can be almost 1/2 inch ( Figure 2 ). Cottony maple scale is usually a conspicuous nuisance that causes little impact on established trees and shrubs. LECANIUM SCALE is another "soft scale" insect which is very prevalent in the tri-city area at this time. Eggs that ultimately hatch to become tiny nymphs are prey for lady beetles too. It is also known as cottony taxus scale. Whenthe bump itself can be squashed it is likely to be some othertype of scale. Injections can be given at any time in the growing season, when leaves are on the tree or in the spring just before leaves open. The tree may never need another injection. Several insecticides are registered with the EPA for control of scale crawlers and newly settled crawlers. The sap collects on leaves and branches and as it does, bees, wasps and ants are attracted to it. The trunk I believe is showing extensive canker damage from a fungal disease, possible tubercularia or nectria which could have been exacerbated through our tough winter temperatures this past winter. There are 2 generations a year in Maryland. Try using insecticidal soap. Feed them once a year, typically when they are dormant. Scale insects are identified by a hard shell that protects them from predators and the weather. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Pulvinaria innumerabilis. The pest is very common in the tri-city area of Michigan at this time. Or, hire a professional insecticide applicator that has access we homeowners do not to controlled insecticides. The injected dinotefuran will rapidly spread throughout the canopy of the tree, usually within a few days. It is designed to teach about the lifecycle and habits of the cottony cushion scale and the predatory vedalia beetle. Barkis usually intact beneath a scale. Cottony camellia scales, Pulvinaria floccifera, are cream to tan, elongate oval, and relatively flat.They are also called cottony taxus scales as this scale is a fairly common pest of yew. COTTONY MAPLE SCALE Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist A mature female cottony maple scale is 1/8" long, and has a brown, flat, oval body. Cottony Cushion Scale had taken over, right under my nose! The scale is called maple cotton scale, Pulvinaria innumerabilis whereas cottony cushion scale is Icerya purchasi, which I am sure clears that up completely for you doesn’t it? The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. Inspect your red maple trees to determine what kind of scale insects you have by shaking the red maple tree’s branches over a sheet of paper and looking for scale insects. A favored host is silver maple, but it will attack other species of maple as well. However, these scales also cause significant lower branch dieback and can be seriously stressful to the tree. Infestations are most easily noticed during the summer when females produce white, cottony egg sacs that resemble pieces of popcorn on a twigs. This scale is very prevalent on ash trees, sugar maples and oaks, but can infest many species of deciduous trees. 1). These little buggers are so tiny and sneaky. Apply an insecticidal soap or 1.5 percent horticultural oil to the foliage - upper and lower sides. The white cottony egg masses, which resemble popcorn, are the most distinguishing feature of this scale. The female passes the winter as a small, brown scale less than 1/8” long. Pest description and crop damage The cottony maple scale is one of the largest soft scales. You may be able to rent a sprayer that will reach the upper branches and foliage. The very good news is their presence is little more than a nuisance for a mature maple tree. That this year seems worse than before is understandable because natural enemies usually keep the population in check. Insecticides can be applied in late June while the insect is active. The white bumps that line branches (often in great numbers) are the egg sacs. The cottony camellia scale is most commonly reported on holly in Kentucky, but it is also found on other hosts, including yew, euonymous, maple, and hydrangea. Treatment of the scale is difficult, especially on large trees. The soil injected product may go into those branches and give more thorough control. Maple cotton scale is found on several other common hardwood trees such as ash, elm and boxelder. Ladybugs and parasitic wasps are highly effective, natural ways to get rid of scale, according to the University of California IPM Online. Pour the soap into a spray bottle and spray the plant, including the undersides of the leaves and stems, until the soap solution begins to drip. I hear more horror than good stories about these companies. However, at maturity, scale insects are immobile, have no visible legs or antennae, and in the case … As crawlers, they are highly mobile, six-legged, have no protective cover, and are usually smaller than a pinhead. By late May or early June the female scale has matured and begins to lay hundreds of eggs within a white frothy wax. A: It’s cottony camellia scale. We see many ashes and sugar maples in Midland with severe lower branch dieback caused by this scale insect. Mix about 5 tablespoons of insecticidal soap or a very mild dish soap into 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water. ROTATE between Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC #) Format: [IRAC Group #]: Chemical name (Trade names) [1A]: Carbaryl … Control measures must be timed to coincide with hatching of the crawler stage which usually occurs in early summer for cottony scales. APHIDS are often blamed, and sometimes contribute to the honeydew, but by far the most copious honeydew production is by soft scale insects described below. 4 Spray your Japanese maple with insecticidal oil or soap. Females are inconspicuous and overwinter on twigs, and in the spring they rapidly grow and produce their characteristic white egg sac. Immature females are flat and inconspicuous. Each mass usually contains 1,000-1,500 eggs. Male scales are tiny, winged insects. These scales also produce large amounts of liquid waste It's known among entomologists as an "ovisac" and can contain up to 1,500 eggs. This year it has been longer and more of them before. The developing females and nymphs produce copious amounts of honeydew which can collect on foliage and branches and cause growth of sooty mold. Japanese maple scales small size, ability to blend in, and long crawler emergence period make it difficult to control. Cottony cushion scale, European elm scale, soft scales, and certain other scales secrete sticky honeydew. Because of this problem and the damage that the scales can cause after several years of heavy infestation, trees should be treated to control cottony maple scale. In their juvenile growth stage, they are referred to as \"crawlers\". Dormant oils can be applied in late fall on the overwintering scale. Treatment of the scale is difficult, especially on large trees. Sprays coating the underside of the leaves at this time can be effective, but thorough coverage is difficult. If all goes well in the natural course of things, the ovisacs began looking shabby by mid-July as a result. The honey-dew falls onto surfaces below and sooty mold proliferates in the sticky sweet substance. Adult females are about 1/8 inch long, oval and yellowish tan with a brown margin. You can find these now on their most common hosts: maple and dogwood. The beetle adults and larvae break into the ovisacs and eat the egg masses. COTTONY MAPLE SCALE is an insect pest of maples, especially silver maples and locust trees primarily, but also will infest several other species. Eggs masses are conspicuously white and cottony in appearance. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). Each species has a different host range and life cycle. In spring treatments, the dinotefuran gives quick  kill and the imidacloprid moves into the tree slowly and is present in the tree when egg hatch occurs and crawlers appear.
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