Cottony-Cushion Scale on my Satsuma

tmc2009March 15, 2012

I never heard of this one before. My guess was that it was a mite. After googling a found a picture and ID'd it. Here is what it looks like. I only found this one but it was a female with eggs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottony Cushion Scale video

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If you still have the scale, you should dissect it to see if she still has red eggs in the sac.

CCS are very common pests of citrus and other woody plants in warmer climates. Perhaps yours was introduced to your citrus from the grower.

Male CCS, by the way, are extremely rare, as this insect reproduces without mating. In all my professional life, I don't think that I have ever even seen a male CCS. They look more like a reddish type of fly, wings and all.

Mites, by the way, are a fraction of the size of your scale insect. Species of mites that are plant pests are so small that most of us need a small hand lens or magnifying glass in order to see them.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 4:47AM
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Andrew Scott

Make sure your dilligent about removing those scale! I agree with Rhizo. I hate to say it but I think my 'Oro Blanco' from Four Winds came with eggs on it. I saw those nasty little a-%$%^! on my Oro and a bunch of my other tropicals. I sprayed and sprayed for about 2 months just to make sure I killed the adults and eggs.

Good luck to you!


    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 8:42AM
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Hi, I did get this citrus from Four Winds and I just took a closer look and they are all over it. Its currently only 49F degrees so I'm not sure if there is a minimum temp to spray to be effective? I know this week is suppose to close to 70F. I'll mix up some neem oil or insectile soap. I was just reading some info from UC and it says that these might be ineffective. I also take them off by hand.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC info on Cottony Cushion Scale

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:18PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yikes, you need to have a little email chat with Trade Winds. You, too, Andrew.

tmc, I think I would vote for some hand removal first, then a regimen of horticultural oil applications to make sure that any very small crawlers are smothered. I don't feel confident about the insecticidal soap being able to control this insect. Your UC fact sheet specifically mentions the use of narrow range oil. This would mean any horticultural oil, but maybe not neem oil.

With horticultural oil of any kind, you must be aware of very cold AND very warm temperatures, and strong sunlight too, at least on plants with leaves on them. All of that information will be on the label.

When using an oil, be certain to read and follow all the directions for mixing, and mist all parts of the plant: upper and lower surfaces of the leaves and all of the stems and trunk.

I'm going to repeat my suggestion that you email Trade Winds. You might mention that someone on GardenWeb also had CCS on their order.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Here is an updated video on the cottony cushion scale. On closer inspection I saw there was a lot more. Don't know why I didn't notice this before. I just picked some off with my hands and used isopropyl alcohol and they came off easily although they are really not difficult to remove anyway. Of course this would not be practical for a larger tree but for a container tree it is manageable.

Here is a link that might be useful: removing cottony cushion scale

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 12:54PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The eggs of the CCS are inside the white fluffy stuff on the adult female scale. They are red. When the eggs hatch inside that white fluff, the nymphs (babies) leave for green pastures and once they locate a feeding site, begin adding their waxy layers. Each of those cottony egg sacs carry somewhere around 600 eggs...and most all of them (if not all) will become female scale capable of generating their own batch of eggs.

Thus, you are not cleaning eggs from your citrus, but hatchlings (nymphs). Females do not lay the eggs and leave them, but carry them all within the cottony sac until they leave of their own accord.

You might find it easier to use a soft rag, dampened with alcohol, to wipe the scale adults AND nymphs from your plant. Easier than toothpicks, yes? At that point, even soapy water will do the job rather than the alcohol.

But, if you don't apply a horticultural oil after all of this, you'll be missing an important step in preventing a recurrence.

The oil will not only smother the nymphs and adults of this scale (including all of those you will miss in your hand removal) but do the same to other scale species, spider mites, aphids, etc. Horticultural oils (which are organic approved) are a very useful tool in the control of plant pests...and help us keep pest populations under control so that we don't ourselves into trouble.

Here is a link that might be useful: CCS eggs

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Had this same problem on one of my satsuma trees. It is a small 4 ft tree so I used paper towels to wipe the leaves to remove the white stuff. Every time I wiped, the paper towel area would turn rusty colored. Most of the white stuff was on the under side of the leaves. Took a while to get it done but I seemed to have got rid of them.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:59PM
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I am a HUGE fan of Four Winds... if this came from them, for me it is a SERIOUS issue. PLEASE communicate this with them and ask them for a solution. They should know they have this problems and they should eliminate it.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:01AM
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