Scale insects can cause severe damage to your home garden, feeding on your plants until they are completely devoid of health. While it can be hard to spot scale insects, as they can be fairly small, once you are aware of their presence in your garden, there are several methods that you can use to get rid of them effectively.
Here are six of the top ways that you can deal with a population of scale insects in your home garden:
Method 1: Swab the Leaves of Your Affected Plants
If the number of insects that are present in your garden is relatively small, one of the most affordable ways to deal with the presence of scale insects on your plants is to simply take a cotton ball or a Q-tip and dip it into a solution of rubbing alcohol. Rub the cotton tip along both sides of the leaves of the affected plants.
Rubbing alcohol and Q-tips are usually available in most homes and don’t require a special trip to the store to address the problem. This is a great solution for households that are just starting to notice the presence of scale insects in their home gardens.
Method 2: Apply an Insecticide Spray
There are a number of spray solutions that are available at your local hardware or agricultural supply stores. One of the most common ones used to deal with scale insects, in particular, is called neem oil.
When applying neem oil or another insecticidal spray to your garden, you’ll need to treat the area in question at least once a week for about a month to ensure that the population is completely destroyed. The best time to apply a solution of insecticidal spray is when the insects are in their crawling phase and have not yet attached to the plant’s surface.
Method 3: Create an Insecticidal Spray from Household Ingredients
A safe alternative to insecticidal sprays is a solution created from standard dish washing liquid that does not contain bleach. By mixing about a tablespoon and a half of the dish washing soap with a quart of water, you can create a wash that can be used to treat the leaves and stems of the affected plants.
Like several of the other treatments, this solution needs to be applied regularly over a window of time to make sure that the population is adequately addressed. Never apply this kind of solution to the plant while it is in the middle of the day or is growing in full sun, as it may cause the plant to dry out and burn. While this can be a time-consuming method to use, it does not require any harsh chemicals and is very affordable.
Method 4: Introduce Ladybugs to Your Garden
Whether you are simply dealing with scale insects in your garden or have other pests that are also present, ladybugs can be an efficient and affordable solution to the problem. Most garden supply stores can sell you a set of ladybugs that can be released into your garden. Ladybugs prey on a number of harmful insects, including scale insects, and can deal with the problem effectively, especially while the scale insects are in their younger stages of life.
Method 5: Apply an Oil Solution
Another great solution that can be created from products that you have around the house contains a variety of oils and is very good at dealing with populations of scale insects. Combine about 2 tablespoons of standard cooking oil with about the same amount of baby shampoo in a gallon of tap water.
To strengthen the solution, you can add in about a cup of alcohol. This solution can then be used to wash down the leaves of the plant, suffocating the insects that are present on the leaves. This kind of mixture should be applied about once a week for a month, during the evening or late afternoon, when the sun is not as bright.
Method 6: Use a Commercial Insecticidal Soap
If your homemade solutions have not been powerful enough to address your infestation, consider picking up an insecticidal soap from your local gardening or home care store. These can be beneficial against a number of common garden pests and are relatively affordable, as well.
If you don’t feel confident in your ability to adequately address the infestation or are dealing with a particular large infestation, consider getting in touch with a pest control company.