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More scale nightmares

  • Subject: [ferns] More scale nightmares
  • From: Bob Needham <bneedham@cisco.com>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Sep 2004 12:00:45 -0700 (PDT)

> Date: Sat, 11 Sep 2004 07:44:38 -0400
> From: Kyle799706@aol.com
> To: ferns@hort.net
> Subject: Re: [ferns] Brown Scale on ferns
> Bob,
>   There is a winged stage of the scale....yes winged....i did a Paper on it for Orchid Pests in IPM at College last year...I was shocked to find this out...no wonder plants you wash, spray, drown with hort oils and pyrethrins show scale a month later...but there is good news...
>    I just discovered www.greenmethods.com a beneficial insect place right next door in N.H. that sells minute wasps that feed on scale and the wasps are the size of thrips so they don't bother you at all. but the hunt down scale slide their egg depositor under the edge of the scale shell and lay a egg.....and then aliens the scale version occurs...the larvae eats the scale bursts out and flies off to find another scale....hehehe...so check it out and hang in there
> Mr. Kyle Fletcher-Baker, Yarmouth, me.(240 houseplants and counting)

Mr. Kyle Fletcher-Baker:

What do these look like? Lately, I have seen some tan-colored 
beetles about 1mm long and about 0.5mm wide flying around. After 
(lightly) smooshing one, I took it to the 200x stereomicroscope 
in the lab. I could write a new "Aliens" sequel now!

This beetle had covers over it's rather fairy-like "real" wings. 
These covers looked like (and were about the same color as) the 
tiny pieces of popcorn shell that adhere to each piece of popped 
popcorn. You know the ones that get stuck in your gums after a good 
movie (or, I guess, a bad one)? Well, the wing covers (carapaces?)
also had tiny hairs on the back half. (This makes me want to make 
sure my popcorn doesn't look like this!)

The bug/beetle had a nearly half-sphere of a head, no obvious 
antennae, compound eyes of 20-50 segments, some kind of mandible-ish 
mouthparts ("mandible-ish" is a highly technical term unknown to 
most people). I forgot to count how many legs, but if there was two, 
it would look something like my High School English teacher, so I 
hope that helps some with the description.

The back was just as wide as my X-Acto blade (which I just measured
accurately at 0.51mm). Trying to dissect this thing with a brand-new
sharper-than-heck X-Acto blade ("sharper-than-heck" is another one of
those highly technical terms) was kind of like trying to dissect a
mouse with a backhoe, but I was able to discover SOME cool and icky 

When the abdomen finally burst (Eeeuuww!), about 6-10 little pale 
yellow football-shaped thingies (FST) came out that were not attached 
to the other obvious guts. ("football-shaped thingies" is a secret
entomological spyword for "Eggy-looking things", so don't tell
anyone else)

When I smooshed one of the FST's, it immediately popped into a puddle
as if the insides were the viscosity of water, and the "shell" was
noting more than a membrane.

Could this Monster have been a winged adult scale? Could those FST's
have been scale eggs? Is there a website that has photos?

Any reply or info would be welcomed.
...I'm gonna have to sleep with the hall light on again for awhile...

Too bad ferns aren't fireproof. My flamethrower is gassed up and at 
full working pressure. But, it sets off the smoke alarm and my wife
complains that it's REALLY hard on the piano finish...

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