Magnolia Scale

Magnolia scale is a large soft-scale insect that attacks Magnolia trees by attaching and feeding off nutrients in the branches. It is most noticeable in late spring and summer once a substantial infestation has set in. The insect is very small in early spring, so it can be hard to detect.

What Is Magnolia Scale?

Magnolia scale are insects that feed with their tube-like mouth parts on the vascular system of trees, where nutrients and fluids are transported. Magnolia scale will feed and then drop a sticky syrup like substance called honeydew (insect waste). This honeydew serves as a growing medium for sooty mold fungi leaving everything underneath with a black coating. The honeydew will also attract bees and ants to the tree. Scale insects rarely kill the tree but will open up the opportunity for wood-boring insects.

What Are The Symptoms Of Magnolia Scale?

– 2mm to 1/2 inch scales on trees

– Large quantities of  sticky “Honeydew”

– Crawlers which appear in September

– Premature leaf drop, yellowing of leaves and sooty mold buildup

– Branch die back

Honey Dew
Sooty Mold Buildup

How Is It Treated?

It is ALWAYS better to be proactive in caring for your trees! Even if you have no infection at all. A springtime treatment of imidaclopid as a basal drench, before bud break, is a great preventative treatment to keep these nasty pests away! If you have an established infection, a trunk injection of acephate followed up with imidacloprid should be performed when the tree is fully leafed out.

– Chemical insecticide sprays when crawlers are present

– Sprays to control overwintering life stages

– Trunk injections for scale control and tree nutrition

– Soil drenching

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