There are not many pests that can damage your orchids, but scale is definitely one of them alongside with aphids and mealybugs. As an orchid lover the worst thing to deal with are pests which often can destroy the plant completely. However, if you use the right treatment, pests can be quickly eliminated to extend the life of your orchids.
How to recognize scale?
Most known scale species in the U.S. is brown scale which is characterized by yellow or brown oval shells that can appear on all parts of the plant. Left untreated, scale can lead to plant’s death.
How scale got on my orchid?
Well, you could’ve purchased an infested plant and so the scale reached to your healthy plants, or the plant was colonized by these tiny crawlers if it was kept outside.
Good-to-know! If you keep your orchids outdoors, you will be helped by natural predators and parasites such as ladybugs and wasps.
Before trying any strong insecticide to get rid of scale on your orchids, you can use some household products to manage this pest.
Rubbing alcohol: Administer either with a cotton ball or a misting bottle (50/50 water and alcohol solution), isopropyl alcohol can help you to get rid of scale infestations, but will need to be repeated every one to two weeks.
Repotting: Your orchid’s potting medium can harbor scale eggs and crawlers, so repotting is one way to minimize the chances the scale infestation will continue.
Horticultural, neem and mineral oils: These oils smother insects and are considered a safer option for orchid owners with pets or children. Mix the oil with water and completely cover the plant with the solution via a spray bottle.
Insecticidal soaps: One step down from an insecticide, insecticidal soaps can also help manage infestations, but make sure to keep your plant out of the sun after application to avoid sunburn.
Insecticides: Since these are harsh chemicals, look for a synthetic option like Orthene, Malathion, Diazinon or Carbaryl.
Getting rid of scale on your orchids requires patience and consistency and if you use the right process you will definitely bring your plant to life.