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Monsteras are extremely popular in the world of indoor gardeners. They are well-known for their large, dynamic foliage, which can add life to any of your corners, and also for their low routine maintenance. Scale is a common problem for gardeners. In many cases, infestations expand inconspicuously before infested hosts begin to show damage.
If left unchecked, your Monstera may become so weak that it dies. Now we will discuss whether there are scales on your beautiful plant and how to deal with them.
Scale is one of many nasty pests that infest your houseplants. They get the plant’s nutrients by sucking the leaves’ sap or devouring the stems and bark.
Scales are small insects, around 1/8 to ½ inch in size, and they are characterised by the superfamily Coccoidea, order Hemiptera. They are usually flat or dome-like in shape with a fleecy-textured body. Just as the name suggests, these pests have a protective scale-like cover they produce. Scale insects fall into two groups: armoured and soft.
Monsteras are favourable to the latter form of scale, the soft ones. These enemies on your monstera emerge as small, yellowish-brown bumps on the stems and leaves. Scale insects can be strangely defensive and hard to manage. They like to stay motionless on your plant’s stems and gently drain its life sap. With their straw-like sucking mouthparts, they feed on plant sap and afterwards excrete a sweet, runny fluid that is called honeydew and usually attracts bees, ants, and other sugar bugs.
Soft scales, specifically the hemispherical scale, are the most extensive kind that occupies Monstera. A hemispherical scale is a dark brown, round, and convex-shaped insect that is up to 4 mm in diameter. Sometimes, scale insects hide themselves among branches or bark, making it hard to tell whether they are scale.
Scale infestation is a problem for Monstera plants because it can cause the leaves to wilt, turn yellow, and drop off. The scale insects also produce a honeydew substance that can attract ants and other pests.
Here are some indicators of scale infestation on your Monstera, including damage:
If you have found those creepy crawlers on your Monstera, don’t freak out. There are solutions you can take to get rid of scale on your plant. Treating scales can be arduous because they have a protective coat that reduces the effectiveness of the insecticides. In this case, natural and mechanical methods would do well:
No insecticide is good enough for the soft or hard shell once it has formed. Keep eyes on your monstera to detect the appearance of scale and pick them off of plants by hand; this is possible when the numbers are low. Or you can remove the pests simply by using a toothbrush or a towel soaked in water. Wipe the surface of the leaves to partly get rid of scales by natural force. This is effective when the infestation is light.
There are commercially available insects that prey on young larvae. Beneficial insects such as ladybirds, soldier beetles, and parasitic wasps would do the work for you. You can either attract these natural enemies by providing an appealing habitat or purchase them at a local garden.
Identify the infested leaves, twigs, and branches, and dispose of those that are most heavily damaged. Or you can think of discarding the entire plant if your monstera plant is totally down in the dumps.
Use a cotton towel soaked in soapy water or 7% isopropyl alcohol as a simple remedy to remove some scale on your plant’s leaves. Thrips and other pests can be killed by rubbing alcohol. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection when working with rubbing alcohol.
Organic horticultural oil, one representative of which is neem oil, is effective for coating and stifling the larvae, nymphs, and even adults of scales. This product is a great choice for taking scales because it controls all stages of scales. However, horticultural oil should not be used in subfreezing temperatures since the emulsion breaks down and the coverage is uneven.
This is a kind of organic pesticide that is most effective in the crawler stage before the scales grow their protective shell. But be aware that they can only last for a short time in the environment, so you should just apply the applications of this product during a specific time, such as in the spring before leaves emerge, or in the egg-hatching stage.
The ingredient extracted from Azamax is azadirachtin, which has also been found in neem oil. This spray is approved for organic use and can resist the development of pests. The best part is that it’s safe for beneficial insects like honey bees.
This should be used as a last resort to deal with scale. It can break the scale down with fast-acting, though it can have some negative impacts on other good insects that reside on your plant. It has fewer harmful effects than synthetic chemicals on your houseplant. Though chemical insecticides may control insect infestations well, they harm beneficial wildlife too, and it is not worth the risk.
All that being said, the most effective remedy for controlling scale is prevention. You should take action in advance to protect your Monstera from being attacked by the scale with some of these tips:
Understand that unhealthy plants are more likely to fall prey to insect infestations. Before you start using organic remedies or commercial insecticides, think about whether your Monstera is receiving enough water, light, and other living conditions and whether you can do anything to improve its status.
Add more water to your monstera in the summer to prevent them from getting stressed by the heat or to keep them in more of their favourite light conditions. Healthy and sufficient plants are more resistant to pests than those with weak conditions. Also, be sure to avoid repotting your Monstera during the winter, as this can cause it to go into shock. To prevent repotting shock, it is important to repot the plant carefully and water it well after repotting.
Make sure you purchase a good monstera plant in the first place in the nursery before bringing it home. Some types of scale may be more common in your kind of Monstera. You might want to check for the information on the Internet or contact customer service to get the details in case you don’t want to encounter pests and scales in the future. While testing the plants, examine all parts, from the leaves to the undersides and the stem joints, where the scales like to hide. After purchasing a new Monstera, plan on checking them regularly while doing gardening chores like watering, weeding, and fertilising.
Debris and weeds down under the plants should be ideal for scale to notice and invade. So make sure the surroundings of your monstera are clean and free so that your monstera will be less likely to attract scale. You should also avoid overwatering your Monstera, as this can lead to root rot and root-bound conditions. Root-bound plants are more susceptible to pests and diseases.
To be honest, don’t panic when there are bugs in your plants. They’re just a part of having plants in your house, and there are multiple steps you can take to get rid of them and retrieve your beautiful ornamental plant.
What is the most effective substance to get rid of Monstera scale?
Scale that suckers Monstera’s sap, just like many kinds of insects, cannot tolerate severe chemical insecticides. Horticultural oil would be a great choice for you to remove the problem in the first place.
Are scale bug infestations easy to treat?
Scales are a common problem in Monstera. It might be easy to treat, though you should research some treatments in advance to get rid of them effectively and safely. There are certain approaches for treating these annoying creatures, but the easiest way is just to wipe off the leaves that have signs of scale with a cotton swab soaked in soapy water.
Are scale insects also harmful to humans?
Scale insects generally don’t have specific harmful impacts on humans since they don’t have toxins or bite us. On the other hand, they can even give humans some economic benefits like colours for dye, shellac, resin production, and even food. They will only harm your beloved indoor plants like Pothos or Monstera by breeding on the plants’ sap and foliage’s juice.