How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
San Jose Scale
Scientific name: Diaspidiotus (= Quadraspidiotus) perniciosus
(Reviewed 4/10, updated 4/10)
In this Guideline:
DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST
Female San Jose scale lay eggs that hatch immediately and the young emerge from under the edge of the adult scale covering. These tiny, yellow crawlers wander in a random fashion until they find a suitable place to settle. Immediately upon settling, the crawlers insert their mouthparts into the host plant and begin feeding and secreting a white, waxy material (white cap stage); eventually the waxy covering turns black (black cap stage).
San Jose scales overwinter predominantly (80%) in the black cap stage, although in mild years some adult females may also survive. In late January, nymphs resume their growth, molting two or three times before becoming adults in March. Immature male and female scales are indistinguishable until after the first molt when the body of the male begins to elongate. Males molt a total of four times after which yellowish, winged adult males emerge to mate with females. The adult female San Jose scale remains under its shell, which is gray and circular; the body under the shell covering is yellow. After mating, females produce eggs, which remain within the female body and hatch there. The crawlers emerge from the female. Crawlers from the overwintering females begin hatching in April, with their peak emergence usually in early May. There are usually four to five generations per year. Crawlers may be present throughout the summer and fall.
San Jose scales cause injury by feeding on twigs, branches, and fruit; they may also inject salivary toxins while feeding.
Heavy populations on the bark can cause gumming and kill twigs, branches, and entire trees if left uncontrolled. A characteristic, red halo-like discoloration often forms around the insect on small twigs or infested fruit. Fruit with haloes will be culled because of its unsightly appearance.
San Jose scale has many natural enemies that can frequently keep the pest under control if not disrupted by application of broad-spectrum insecticides. Many orchards that have not used broad-spectrum sprays for 2 or 3 years do not have San Jose scale problems. The best time to spray is during the dormant season when low-to-moderate populations can be managed with oil sprays, which don't destroy the scale parasites. The scale is monitored as part of the shoot sample during the dormant season and with pheromone traps in spring.
Natural enemies that feed on San Jose scale include two predaceous beetles: the twicestabbed lady beetle, Chilocorus orbus, and another small beetle Cybocephalus californicus. A number of small chalcid and aphelinid wasps, including Aphytis spp. and Encarsia (Prospaltella) sp., parasitize this scale. These predators and parasites are helpful in reducing scale populations, but broad-spectrum insecticides used during the growing season for other pests disrupt this natural control, and scale populations can build as a result. Low winter mortality due to mild temperatures will also permit a buildup of scale populations.
Organically Acceptable Methods
Biological control and a properly applied spray or certain narrow range oils during the delayed dormant period are organically acceptable management practices for this pest.
Monitoring and Treatment Decisions in the Dormant Season
Because of the damage potential of this pest, annual oil sprays during the dormant or delayed dormant period are recommended in most areas. For large-scale populations, a properly applied dormant spray with good coverage is the most effective timing and will eliminate the spring flight and suppress the infestation throughout the growing season. The following table gives a guideline for making treatment choices based on levels of infestation on dormant shoot samples:
Oil alone can be effective in controlling low-to-moderate populations. If populations are high, include an insect growth regulator (pyriproxyfen-Esteem, Seize; buprofezin-Centaur) with the oil. Organophosphates are available but are associated with environmental problems and should be avoided. When the dormant organophosphate and oil spray is first omitted, San Jose scale populations may increase the first year but by the second and third year parasite populations have increased to levels where they reduce San Jose scale populations and maintain them at low levels. If you notice parasitized scale in your dormant sample, be sure to only use an insect growth regulator during the growing season.
Monitoring and Treatment Decisions in the Growing Season
Monitoring with traps
Calculate degree-days for San Jose scale in your location.
Learn to use degree-days to time insecticide applications.
Monitor scales by putting up pheromone traps around February 25 (see PHEROMONE TRAPS) and placing sticky tape in the trees in April. Place pheromone traps well within the canopy to keep them out of the wind. San Jose scale pheromone traps also attract both male San Jose scale and scale parasites (Aphytis melinus and Encarsia perniciosi). Adult male scale can be distinguished from parasites by the presence of a dark line across their thorax where the wings attach. (View photos of San Jose scale and parasite for identification.)
When the traps begin to catch males consistently, start accumulating degree-days using a 51°F lower threshold and a 90°F upper threshold. If it is needed, apply a treatment for crawlers 600 to 700 DD after you catch the first males. Confirm the presence of crawlers by checking sticky tape traps. Be aware that the traps may fail to catch any adults if weather is cold, rainy, or windy. Total generation time for San Jose scale is 1050 DD.
If May sprays are required, use a high-volume (dilute) application at 400 gallons or more per acre for best coverage; do not use a low-volume application.
Examine fruit on trees (see PREHARVEST FRUIT SAMPLES) to detect any developing problems in the orchard and take a fruit damage sample at harvest to assess the effectiveness of the current year's IPM program and to determine the needs of next year's program (see FRUIT EVALUATION AT HARVEST). Record results for the harvest ) sample.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines:
Insects and Mites
Acknowledgment for contributions to the Insects and Mites:
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