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Re: Brown Scale on ferns

  • Subject: Re: [ferns] Brown Scale on ferns
  • From: "Mary Gorton" <mgorton@dca.net>
  • Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 23:12:51 -0700


I am battling a scale infestation, too.  The ants carrying the scale around
are the problem.  I am going to try using Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect
Control w/1%di-syston.  There are so many places on a fern for scale to hide
that I'm not too optimistic about external treatments, unless the entire
plant can be dipped in a solution periodically to break the scale
reproduction cycle.  Then the problem is getting the solution, soapy water
or whatever, on the plant but not in the soil.  The best of luck to you.

Mary Gorton

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bob Needham" <bneedham@cisco.com>
To: <ferns@hort.net>
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 6:29 PM
Subject: [ferns] Brown Scale on ferns

> ferns@hort.net,
> O.K., before I nuke my plant collection to sve the planet, I figured
> that I need to learn a little bit more about the enemy. That's right,
> I'm talking about the terrorists of the turf, the Taliban of the fern
> world, SCALE!
> As soon as I notice scale, I take the infected plant to a separate room,
"The Hospital".
> It's about 50 feet away, and if I was a bug their size with their
> (probably) short lifespan, I figure that's like me trying to walk from
> California to New York without food or water over terrain like the Grand
> Canyon (carpet). So that should work, right? I fastidiously wash my hands
after touching infected plants. I have been treating them with a Pyrethrin
(0.02%) and Piperonyl Butoxide (0.2%) commercial spray that claims to kill
both thrips & scale. I have been diluting it to 50% with water (adding a
drop of liquid dish soap as a surfactant) because it seems to really whack
the ferns.
> When I treat an infected plant, I spray, then hand-inspect all surfaces
with a 10X loupe, scraping up and disturbing any scale I see with an X-Acto
blade, letting my Witches Brew do it's deadly task! BWAAA-Haa-Haa! This does
seem to be effective. Plants are then inspected every few days, and treated
again if necessary. If the plant shows no more signs of infection after a
week or two, it goes to a separate "Recovery Room" for another week or two
for observation. Plants in these rooms do not touch, and I do more
handwashing than a doctor. If the plants then seem to be "clean" they are
then allowed to return to normal civilian life, providing Oxygen for my few
remaining brain cells.
> O.K., here's the questions:
> 1) I've already figured out that Thrips can fly (I've swatted a few and
put their sorry little mangled remains under the ferocious glare of a
stereomicroscope). It's a little like trying to figure out what kind of a
watch it was before a truck ran over it, but if you get enough samples (and
learn to swat gently), one can figure it out eventually.
> 2) Here's the main question: All the scale I've seen leads me to believe
that they are pathetic little feeble slimebutts with brains the size of
little carried away there... BREATHE!  O.K., I'm better now. But seriously,
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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