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The small whitish oleander scale can infest a variety glasshouse plants, including oleander, dracaena, palms and ornamental asparagus.
Oleander scale (Aspidiotus nerii) on Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Oleander scale is a sap sucking true bug that appears as a flat, oval, whitish-brown insects on leaves and stems of glasshouse plants. The whitish covering of the insect is waxy and repels liquids. The adults reach up to 2mm long, the immature stages (crawlers) are much smaller. It does not produce honeydew and breeds throughout the year. It is one of several species of scale insects encountered by gardeners.
Infestations of oleander scale are characterised by the encrustations of the 2mm diameter scales on leaves and stems of glasshouse plants. Common host plants include Acacia, Asparagus plumosus, azalea (Rhododendron), Cyclamen, Dracaena, Nerium oleander (oleander) and palms. Heavily infested plants can lack vigour. It can appear similar to other diaspid scale insects.
Oleander scale is difficult to control. Although scraping the insects off the leaves can help reduce infestations this is unlikely to give good control. It can be worth considering replacing heavily infested plants.
Oleander scale can be difficult to control with sprays as the waxy covering gives them some protection and the best results are achieved by spraying against the newly hatched crawlers. Heavily infested plants may need several applications.
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