Updated at: 24-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

You can discover how to get rid of the cottony cushion scale by following one of two approaches. Seeing these pests in your plants can be disappointing, but know that biological and chemical remedies are available to combat them. It’s not enough to simply get rid of and control these pests; preventive is also required.

You may want to cultivate plants in a greenhouse since it is more convenient to keep pests out of the house. Be aware that the more time and effort you put into controlling pest populations, the faster you can get rid of them. Plus, you have control over greenhouse conditions, which can prevent cottony cushion scales from rapidly proliferating.

How To Control And Remove Cottony Cushion Scale?

Method #1. Biological

University of California researchers say you can utilize the cottony cushion scale’s two natural enemies to your advantage in controlling them. Those who can’t use chemicals to get rid of pests may appreciate this choice. Vedalia beetles or parasite flies can both be used in the same experiment.

How To Get Rid Of Cottony Cushion Scale. 2 Methods - Krostrade

Vedalia beetle

For the most part, this is a natural method of eradicating the cottony cushion scale. As far back as the late 1890s, these insects were credited with salvaging the citrus industry in California. If you have cottony cushion scale, what is the best way to get rid of it?

The insects will be eaten by both the larvae and adults of the beetles. Scale population management is aided by the mature female beetles, which lay their eggs under the female scale. The beetles will eat all stages of the scale, which is the best part.

Parasitic fly

The parasitic fly is a second natural enemy you can use to combat your scale problem. In addition to adult female scales, this bug lays eggs at various stages of the scale life cycle. Once the scale is removed, a fly emerges as an adult.

It doesn’t matter whatever insect you pick because they all have a short lifespan. Since they don’t harm other beneficial insects, they’re an ideal choice for eradicating cottony cushion scale swiftly.

Method #2. Chemical

Another way to get rid of the cottony cushion scale is with the help of chemicals. However, this should be your final resort in dealing with the pests. Even yet, there will be times when insecticides are the only way to get rid of cottony cushion scale.

You should know that this bug is more tough to get rid of than most. Insecticides can’t get to the adult scale or eggs because of the sac that surrounds them. Horticultural oil can be used instead during the dormant period to keep things under control.

Chemicals to use and never use

Insecticides can also be sprayed on the plant’s foliage to kill off any remaining female scales. Using sticky tape traps, you can detect when the crawlers are laying their eggs and spray when this happens. Acephate and organophosphates malathion would be good chemical compounds to utilize.

Cottony cushion scale | Project Noah

If you utilize acephate for anything other than decorative plants, you’ll need to stress this point. Malathion, on the other hand, can harm beneficial insects such as bees. As a result, exercise caution when handling chemicals and thoroughly examine their labels before usage.

The cottony cushion scale can’t use what chemicals? The helpful vedalia beetles can be harmed by imidacloprid, which doesn’t kill the insects. After using this insecticide, you run the danger of an outbreak.

Damages Caused By Cottony Cushion Scale

Cottony cushion scale infestation can be detected by keeping an eye out for the telltale indicators. Because of the honeydew they left behind, your plant’s leaves and blossoms will first show signs of sooty mold. To prevent sunlight from penetrating, this mold must turn black.

Sunlight is vital to the growth and development of new shoots, therefore under-receiving their light requirements will have a negative impact on their development. So it is common to notice leaf loss or yellowing when your plants have a cottony scale infestation. Monitoring your plants in the spring is recommended by the University of Arizona so that you can deal with these pests quickly.

Keep in mind that you should take precautionary actions year-round to keep these pests away. Be aware of the new plants you bring and the conditions that can encourage their growth in your environment. A greenhouse can be used to produce crops in a controlled environment while maintaining sanitation and pruning to prevent infestations.

Factsheet: Cottony cushion scale - Icerya purchasi


In the garden, one of the most aggravating bugs to find is the cottony cushion scale. Biological and chemical controls, on the other hand, can be used to get rid of cottony cushion scaling. To make treatment more bearable, keep in mind the importance of preventive and take steps to reduce the pest population.

Scale-killing vedalia beetles and parasitic flies can be a benefit to you. However, if the insect population is out of control, considerable caution and diligence when using chemicals are required. Insecticides that destroy good bugs can also hurt beautiful plants.

The cottony cushion scale is resistant to several insecticides, making them ineffective. Maintaining a stable environment that does not encourage infestation is therefore the best course of action. To keep pests out of your garden, keep your hands clean.

Gardening FAQ

The cottony cushion scale is an issue, but what can I do?

One of the most common woody plant-eating insects is the cottony cushion (Icerya purchasi) scale insect. Hundreds of scarlet eggs are laid in white, spongy egg sacs by mature insects on twigs and trees.

A dull knife or even a fingernail can be used to scrape the sacs from the plant’s surface. Insects can be killed with rubbing alcohol on the swab if the alcohol comes into touch with them. 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol and 1 tablespoon of insecticidal soap in 1 quart of water should be used to treat plants that have been sprayed. Add 1 tablespoon of alcohol to a pint of the diluted soap if your insecticidal soap is already combined with water.) For the next two weeks, apply the spray every three days. Insect nymphs (also known as crawlers) are killed by soap, whereas alcohol kills adults.

Additionally, a light horticultural oil, or “better horticultural spray oil,” is useful. As a result, this oil is less harmful to plants than typical dormant oil. Make sure you use a solution with a concentration of 2-3 percent. Suffocate the scale insects with this solution, which should be sprayed directly on them.

Spray your plants with dormant oil in late winter or early spring to suffocate overwintering adults and their eggs.

Normally, birds will aid in bug management, but this is not always the case.