University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers

Insect Damage

Brown Soft Scale
Coccus hesperidum

Brown soft scale on weeping fig (Ficus). P. Nixon
Brown soft scale on weeping fig (Ficus). P. Nixon
4 (1 = rare 5 = annual)
4 (1 = very little damage 5 = plants killed)
Several house plants and some herbaceous perennials are attacked, particularly weeping fig, shefflera, hibiscus, and aralia.

The adult femalescales will look like brown bumps often mistaken for buds while the nymphs are almost transparent, flat, and oval. This scale produces honeydew, which makes the plant feel sticky. If honeydew is produced in quanity, a sooty mold (black in color) may grow on the honeydew. However, weeping fig also produces a clear, sticky substance at the base of its leaves which can be mistaken for honeydew.

Life Cycle
Indoors the scale soon have various stages of their life cycle going on at the same time. For example eggs may be being laid while crawlers are moving about and some adults are settling down on the plant. This can go on year round since there is no major variation to indoor growing conditions.

On house plants, rub off or crush the scales as soon as they are seen. Check plants daily. Wash plants safely and frequently. Some systemichouse plant insecticides are effective against this scale.

Related Resources
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
Illinois Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic