The extensive feeding by a larger population will stress the trees and often leads to yellowing of leaves and twig dieback. Armored scales and soft scales are the most common types (or families). Spot signs of scale damage. 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. Eventually twigs and entire limbs die and the tree bark cracks and oozes sap. It seems to be dependent on the species of scale, rather than the species of plant. Common scales and their tree and shrub hosts are listed in Tables 1–3. Interestingly, scale varies widely in its effect on plants. Over time, an untreated population of magnolia scale may lead to decline of the tree. SCALE INSECTS are the usual cause of sweet, sticky drippage (honey-dew) from trees that collects on surfaces below. Generally, they are divided into two categories, armored (hard) and soft scale. Trees can usually tolerate small populations of scale. The most serious problem they cause is honeydew which is a clear, sticky secretion they leave behind as they feed. This makes it increasingly difficult for scale control. The first symptoms are yellow, falling leaves. Heavy infestations may cause leaf yellowing, stunting, severe plant stress, and dieback. The scales tend to be more numerous on trees that are already under stress from causes … Often, a sticky substance can be found near the scale or on leaves. Scale insects feed on the bark, leaves, and fruit of the host plant and can cause stunting, leaf drop, fruit lesions, and eventually death of branches or entire trees if … They are such oddly shaped and immobile pests that they often resemble shell-like bumps rather than insects. Many trees will have small numbers of scale each year; they need monitoring but probably not treatment. Scale insects belong to a large group of sucking insects that attack a wide variety of trees and shrubs. The scale sucks sap from the tree and causes leaves to turn yellow and drop. While this can worry gardeners, these growths are harmless, although may occasionally indicate a lack of vigour in the affected plant. Algae, lichens and moss often form green or grey, powdery or mossy, crusty growths on the stems, branches and trunks of trees and shrubs. Common on backyard trees, ornamental shrubs, greenhouse plants and houseplants, over 1,000 species of scale insects exist in North America. Some scale species lack males and the females reproduce without mating. Scale Treatments Other plants succumb before you can even notice the problem. In many cases, heavy infestations build up unnoticed before plants begin to show damage. This is a secretion from the scale called honeydew and it often acts as an attractant for ants or as a growth source for sooty mold. 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