Monday, April 20, 2009

Pest Alert: Asian Cycad Scale

Well, its been a while since I've had a chance to blog about insects, but I've finally found some time to sit down!

Photos: B. Castro, Texas AgriLife Extension

This month (April), it seems as if all my calls and emails are related to Asian Cycad Scales. These are nasty little scales that infest cycad plants (sago palms, king sago, queen sago, etc). Asian Cycad Scale is a relatively new pest, only identified in Bexar County a couple years ago. Scales are small insects that suck sap and exude a wazy covering for protection. Asian Cycad Scale populations can become so numerous, so quickly, that they can overcome a huge sago palm in no time.

If you have the scale, you know, you will see white stuff all over the fronds. Early treatment is best. The good news is that any product labeled for scales should work: organic or traditional pesticides. If you like organic products, use insecticidal soaps and oils. You can also use sharp blasts of water to dislodge the scale.

One treatment is never enough, you will always need to treat multiple times. I suggest cleaning the plant with sharp blasts of water about 4 days after treatments. Sometimes its hard to see if the pesticide is working because the scales make such a mess of plant with their wax. Treat every 10 days until you see that the plant is totally clean. If you decide to remove infested branches, make sure you destroy the clippings and clean the pruners!
For more information see: EEE-00038; The Cycad Aulacaspis Scale, a Pest of Sago Palms in Texas;