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Please be sure to read the product label of any insecticide you choose to use to get information on the personal protective safety gear you will need. In most situations, it is recommended that you wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt, closed toe shoes with socks, chemical resistant gloves, and goggles. In areas where ventilation is poor, a manufacturer may recommend you wear a mask or a respirator. We have put together two different safety kits that will make selecting the correct safety gear easier for you.

What Do Scale Insects Look Like

By DoMyOwn staff

Scale Insects in the United States

Scale insects are generally small, spread easily from one plant to the next, and can be a difficult-to-eliminate pest that causes unwanted plant injury if left untreated. Their common name comes from the fact that scales live their adult life under a protective layer that may resemble a fish scale or the skin of a reptile. In this guide you will find some ways to identify common types of scale along with our recommended ways to eliminate them and keep your property safe from future infestations.

Scale insects are very small--sometimes only 1/16 of an inch wide, but also up to 3/8 of an inch across. Most armored scales measure 1/32-1/16 of an inch, while soft scales are typically from 1/16-1/4 of an inch long.


Female scale insects--the ones you see sticking to your plants--are generally oval or circular in shape. Some varieties of adult female scale have no means of locomotion and will remain in their selected spot for life. The males of these species are rarely seen and resemble tiny gnats with some mobility.


Scale insects vary with age and species, but many are brown or black in color. Some specific varieties have a cottony white exterior.


Around 1000 varieties of scale can be found throughout the United States. They are most often found on the trunks or twigs of plants, or clinging to the underside of leaves.

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