European fruit lecanium scale might be a long name, but these garden pests can make short work of your pomegranates, citrus, and olives.
European fruit lecanium scale description
European fruit lecanium scale is a soft scale insect. This means the shiny brown convex cover is not as hard as armored scale covers. You can identify European fruit lecanium scales because the brown cover has several ridges on it, while other soft scale insects do not.
European fruit lecanium scale lifecycle
European fruit lecanium scale larvae are normally found on twigs and small branches. As temperatures begin to rise in spring, they develop the telltale dome-shaped cover. Adult females fill the space under their cover with eggs and then they die. When the eggs hatch, the nymphs, or crawlers, come out from underneath the scale covers and hide out on the underside of leaves. By late July or August, these pests migrate to fruit. There can be two generations each year and most of the insects present will be in the same life stage.
Damage caused by European fruit lecanium scale
When European fruit lecanium scale larvae feed, they attach themselves to the outside of twigs and fruit and pierce the surface. This causes cosmetic damage as well as providing points of entry for other pests and diseases. Also, European fruit lecanium scale feeding results in the excretion of honeydew (sugary bug poop), which sooty mold fungi find delightful. The only exception is that scale feeding on pomegranates does not result in honeydew deposits. Instead, tiny piles of sugar are seen. These sugar piles are easily brushed off of twigs and fruit.
European fruit lecanium scale controls
Natural enemies are the best controls for European fruit lecanium scale. Twicestabbed lady beetles, steel blue lady beetles, and lacewings will all help fight soft scales. You can also wrap tree trunks with sticky barriers to remove the protection (and disease-carrying potential) provided by ants.
Finally, prune trees for good air flow and structure to keep trees healthy.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!