WSU Extension


Common Insects & Mites : Brown soft scale
(revision date: 4/14/2015)

Brown soft scale appears as a small, brown or pale yellow, flat disk. While it is more commonly a greenhouse pest, it can be a serious pest of outdoor plants, such as holly, clematis, apple, laurel, ivy, and madrone. Brown soft scale feeds primarily on twigs, or, less frequently, on the undersides of leaves. It produces large amounts of honeydew, resulting in an abundance of sooty mold on the foliage. Ants may also be attracted to the honeydew.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Ladybird beetles, parasitic wasps, and other natural enemies help control scale populations outdoors. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill these beneficial insects.
  • Minor infestations may be wiped off by hand when practical.
  • Prune and destroy heavily infested branches when practical.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Scout for crawlers. Apply to control the immature crawler stage, usually in late spring to early summer. For additional information, refer to the fact sheet for brown soft scale on a particular host.

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Caption: Brown soft scales
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli