White Peach Scale
White Peach Scale is a commonly found on peach trees. They infest bark, fruit and leaves and can cause decreased fruit output, leaf drop, damage to the limbs and it can even kill your tree.
Although it looks like a fungus, its actually an strange little insect. The female is 1/16- 1/18 inch in diameter and has no visible legs. Females are immobile. They are flat and circular in shape. Their coloring ranges from yellow to grayish-white with a yellow (or sometimes red) spot in the middle.
Males are mobile. They are not as flat as the females and (to me) look like rice. They only live for about 24 hours and spend the majority of that time crawling around looking for females to reproduce with. (I had an ex-boyfriend who spent most of his time doing the same thing.)
Scale insects are broken down into 18 families. White peach scale belongs to the “armored” family. Armored scales are typically flat and camouflaged. The insect is protected by a waxy outer coating.
White peach scale typically lay eggs in early spring. The eggs hatch, move around to find food then the females attach themselves.
Lady bugs and lacewings are natural predators of white peach scale. Insecticides do not work well because they do not penetrate the female’s waxy coating. Dormant oils can be applied before bud break to smother them. These are usually done in two treatments, two weeks apart. The young crawlers have not developed a waxy coating and can be sprayed effectively with insecticide.
Click here to see some nasty pictures of white peach scale.
Click here to find out how to check for crawlers.