Purple Scale

Purple Scale

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Common names: Purple Scale

Scientific name: Lepidosaphes beckii

Region: This scale can be found in southern United States.

Life cycle: This insect produces two to three generations each year and overwinters in all stages.

Physical description: At 1/12 of an inch long, this purple to brown armored scale is shaped like an oyster shell.  The females lay their white eggs under their shell in groups of fifty.  The nymph is white with a brownish tip and is covered with a protective cottony wax coating that remains until the armor forms.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks citrus trees by feeding on leaves, twigs, and fruit.  They produce a toxic substance that kills the heavily infested parts of the tree.  The damage from this insect can be seen from a distance because of the large dead areas it produces.

Controls: Control scale with an oil-emulsion spray.  Lemons can be sprayed with dormant oil in April and May, while other citrus should not be sprayed until late summer or fall.  Navel oranges are most susceptible to the scale and the timing on spraying is critical.  In addition, maturing fruit should never be sprayed, since this could cause discolored and degraded fruit.

In California, stop spraying when temperatures begin to reach 90 degrees F in coastal areas, 85 degrees in intermediate areas, and 95 degrees in interior areas, or if humidity levels dip below 35, 30, or 20 percent respectively.

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