Croton scale - what's working

Discussion in 'THE CROTON SOCIETY' started by fawnridge, Aug 10, 2013.

Banner funded expressly in recognition and support of Tropiscape.

  1. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,439
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    In the on-going battle to save my Crotons, it appears as though I may have the buggers on the run. Sad to say though that there haven't been casualties. Both of my edible fig trees have been cut back to the ground. I ate one and got sick from the Beyers 3 in 1 that I'm using on the nearby Crotons. I've since switched to Malathion for the plants in that area. I've given up on the Barbados Cherry tree; let the birds and squirrels eat the fruit. Again, it's surrounded by Crotons that have been the worst of the scale-infested plants.

    I have found scale on almost every Croton in the garden and, upon finding new infestations, I first grab my clippers. Any pesticide takes at least a week to have an effect on the scale. In that time, it's drawing ants, which are making sooty mold and essentially ruining the plant. I have no problem hacking off huge chunks of plants and tossing them in the trash. If nothing else, I'm getting bushier Crotons as time goes on. Having cut off the worst of it, I then drench that Croton and every other Croton in the area, regardless of whether I can see scale or not.

    Beyers 3 in 1 seems be working the best, every 30 days or sooner if I see a problem. I'm using Malathion near the remaining fruit trees and doing my best to spray away from them or not at all. The little white fuzzy bug that supposed to be eating Croton scale is not present in enough of a population to deal with it and I've probably thrown down enough pesticide that I've killed it as well.

    One of the positive aspects of heavy treatment is that I'm seeing fewer Lubbers this year then ever. If the pesticide is killing them or just making the plants taste bad, I'm not complaining.
     
  2. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Chris stopped by yesterday. He related to me that he is using a concoction of coffee, neem oil and organicide. This is being applied as a preventative measure and seems to be working well. I do not know what are the ratios of these ingredients or his method a application. Chris does not like using toxic chemicals, but they are sometimes needed to get an infestation under control.

    My plants have pretty much not had much scale this growing season. However, I've seen a few with it yesterday. I use a hand held sprayer with dimethoate to spot treat the mini outbreakers. The key is to keep the scale in check. Major outbreaks require alot of work, lots of chemicals.
     
  3. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Assuming you're talking about the green squishy scale, spot applications of agricultural oil have keep things in check nicely here. When I see them, they get zapped with a mixture in a 1 qt. spray bottle I keep handy. If I have some old coffee handy, it goes in the mix (watch out for fine grounds that tend to clog the sprayer). Fortunately, there are no large trees (gumbo limbo, etc. ) anywhere near me that also attract the buggers.
     
  4. kwtimo

    kwtimo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    586
    Location:
    key west, fl 10b-11
    I too, use coffee. But I just dump the grounds around the base of the plants. They seem to enjoy the organic matter. I drink organic fair trade coffee, so I'm not concerned about any residual chemical pesticides in my own body, or in the soil. I tend to cycle out product depending on time of year, and light conditions. In the hotter months, I've had great success with Pyrethrins as a contact kill, which can have up to a 28 day residual effect. I also really like Avid, which is more of a systemic, gets into the plant tissue, and can last up to 28 days as well. It is derived from naturally occurring soil organisms. Both of these products are great for mite control too. The Avid more so. In the cooler months, fish or neem oil works with great results on a range of insects. If ants are already present due to scale, I'll treat the ants with some form of Boric acid to chase them off. All of these products are very easily obtainable and are more environmentally friendly. Hope this helps.
     
  5. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    DAVIE FL
    The scale is relentless,Moose is right that you must be vigilant,if the scale gets the upper hand you will be mass spraying all the time.I always end up spraying around 4-8 different plants at least once a week,but since I am always checking it does not get out of hand,I think if I left the garden for 1 month without minor spot spraying they would be everywhere.I mainly use organicide(fish oil) and sevin.
     
  6. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,439
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    I did not have the results with Organicide that I'm having with either Malathion or Beyers. Plus, I don't have that horrible smell.
     
  7. pocomo

    pocomo Active Member

    Messages:
    337
    Location:
    10
    Hey all. My coffee neem organocide seems to work for an extended period of time. It's been about 2 1/2 months since my last spraying. I'm seeing some scale show up and I'm just waiting for a cooler rainy kind of evening to spray as It could have phytotoxic effects on a hot sunny day. All my old coffee grounds go into a 5 gal bucket and stew there for at least a couple of weeks if not more. I have one of those coffee strainers (very fine mesh) that came with one of my old coffee pots to strain the stirred up coffee brew. I add the neem and organocide in approximately the right propotrions. Maybe 1 or 2 tablespoons per gallon and fill up the sprayer with the coffee brew. No dilution. Oh I also add some dish soap. It seems to work immediately and lasts for quite awhile. And thw yard smells like fermented coffee for about a week. Not that that's a good thing. Not bad not good.
     
  8. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    Who is Chris? I'd like to get more details on his concoction. Thanks!
     
  9. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    I don't understand where the volume of liquid comes from. What are your coffee grounds brewing in? I appreciate your help!

    Karen
     
  10. Phil Stager

    Phil Stager Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Location:
    Sunny St. Pete, FL
    Karen -

    Google cycads+coffee . The first hit is an article by Tom Broome who did a lot of the development work on using coffee as an insecticide. Read some of the additional articles for a more info. Some of us have added other stuff to the basic brew to get a better or longer kill time. But for the basic coffee brew, you don't even have to know how to boil water.
    I've got a batch of sun coffee brewed up and am waiting for a bit warmer weather to spray some crotons in the yard and to try and spray some of the tall fronds on a few palms (Archontophoenix maxima and a Becceariophoenix madagascarinensis) above the croton patch to slow down the spiral whitefly infestation. Coffee spray is a lot less harmful (to me) than almost any insecticide I'd be spraying way up in the air on tall palms.
     
  11. Karenska

    Karenska Active Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Little Gables, Miami, FL
    Phil -- Excellent! Starbucks, here I come! As much as I want to kill the scale on my crotons, I do not want to harm the honeybees, butterflies and other critters in my yard. This gives me hope! Thank you!
     
  12. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Karen - Chris is stopping by @10:00 am. Feel free to stop by and pick his brain on his concoction that is working for him. :)
     
  13. koki

    koki Active Member

    Messages:
    266
    Location:
    pine island, fl
    This is what the good guys look like. Meally Bug Destroyers, aka juvenile lady bugs. These wiped out all the scale in my yard a while back. The scale came back, but now these little critters have returned and are on about six crotons. Hopfully they will do the trick again.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. kurt decker

    kurt decker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    ft lauderdale
    Here is a total rethink on croton scale, or any other scale or aphid for that matter. Aphids and scale are soft bodied, defenseless critters. First line of defense is a robust healthy plant. Use a top grade balanced fertilizer, don't kid yourself that dog doo or banana peels are going to do the job. If you grow in containers, use a high quality soil. Here's the big piece, you don't have a scale problem, you have a fire ant problem. Amdro is the answer. Not orthene or some other brand, amdro. A spoonful at the base of the plant will solve the problem. The fire ants are guarding the scale, which they farm for honeydew. Kill the ants, the scale is toast. If you have been spraying, it may take a month or two for the toxins to dissapate. Forget dogmatic organic ideas, good fertilizer and a touch of amdro will keep pesticides (and croton scale) out of your garden.
     
  15. fawnridge

    fawnridge Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,439
    Location:
    Western Boca Raton
    Kurt - You are probably correct - it's the ants that are bringing the scale to the plants. However, it's not just fire ants or carpenter ants, but all the damn ants in the world. We've got a dry week ahead of us, so it's perfect for spraying. I've been using Amdro for years when a fire ant colony appears and dust for the carpenter ants, but I use Hot Shot around the exterior of the house to keep ants out. I'm going to spray the base of my worst affected Crotons with Hot Shot and see what happens.
     
  16. kurt decker

    kurt decker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    ft lauderdale
    That won't work. Look at koki's picture above. Spraying kills the good guys, too. The idea Is to kill only the non native species (the fire ants) that are causing the problem. Aphids and scale are candy to a predator. Just remove the fire ants. The cure for sooty mold is exactly the same. Remove only the fire ants. Amdro. Not orthene. Not spraying. Just amdro and some quality fertilizer. I've been doing this a long time. I've never even owned a pesticide.
     
  17. Kingdavid

    Kingdavid Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    1,163
    Location:
    st lucie co
    Sounds like a plan ill give it a try . fighting those little f,,,,,, is drivn me crazy , you zap em they look good 3 months later there back ..... THANks
     
  18. Moose

    Moose Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    7,952
    Location:
    Coral Gables, FL Zone 10b
    Knock on wood, I have no fire ants. I do have a multitude of argentine ants.

    They are ranchers of the croton scale but turn their "noses" up to Andro bait treatments. :(
     
  19. Jeff Searle

    Jeff Searle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,754
    Location:
    South Florida, USA
    A few things I have learned.

    First, it's never a good thing when you have fire ants, I think we all can agree on that. And I believe Amdro is listed as a fire ant insecticide, but does not fare well with other species of ants. And not all ants are a bad thing, except when you get them in the house.

    BUT.....usually when I see a build up of croton scale, I rarely see a community of ants going up and down the plant. IMO, the only way to have a clean croton, a treatment of imidocloprid ( probably misspelled ) is the way to go. I use the granular form at the base of the plant and get anywhere from 6-9 months of scale free relief.
     
  20. Perry Edge

    Perry Edge Active Member

    Messages:
    126
    If you Google "ants be gone" you will find a number of homemade recipes. I am currently trying an equal mixture of baking soda with finely powdered confectioner's sugar, mixed thoroughly with a litle water to form a paste. Supposedly, the ants can't tell the soda from the sugar and will devour both, and the soda causes gas which the ants can't expel, because of their hard exoskeleton. Ka-boom!
     
  21. kurt decker

    kurt decker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    ft lauderdale
    Here's a little update. A couple of weeks ago my friend george and I were doing some work on the crotons, and george found a patch of scale on some fishbones. I sprinkled a little amdro around the plants and forgot about it until today. The fire ants are gone, and this blue ladybug is doing the dirty work for me. A thorough search turned up six live scale. Oh well, sucks to be them. Since I have never sprayed, all I have to do is remove the fire ants from the situation, and the scale is doomed.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. pocomo

    pocomo Active Member

    Messages:
    337
    Location:
    10
    I've never seen a fire ant on a croton. And since UF and the state of Florida have been releasing phorid flies that are native to the fire ants origins, I haven't seen a fire ant anywhere in Florida in years. Not to say they're not around, just not around here. The flies, and there are many species that invade the nests or attack workers, lay eggs in the heads of fire ants rendering them pretty much useless to the colony. Now if you want to see some fire ants come to my place in Arkansas. It's hard to take a step without running into one. And when you stand still make sure you're not standing on a mound. Reminds me of Florida when I was a kid.

    I did treat my plants the other day. Oh the smell of fermenting coffee, neem and organocide works quite well for me. And seems to last for months. The smell will go away after awhile.
     
  23. junglegal

    junglegal Esteemed Member

    Messages:
    3,135
    Location:
    St. Pete FL
    Bump because it's that season again.
     

Share This Page