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Bug  Scale Insects

Scale Insect - Photo  Copyright 2007 Dave Green
Photo: Dave Green
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UK Safari Tip:
Need help identifying creepy-crawlies? Try this superbly illustrated fold out ID chart - click here

Latin name: Coccoidea

Size: Approx 2mm to 6mm

Distribution: Found throughout the U.K.

Months seen: All year round, but especially noticeable in early summer.

Habitat: Found on the stems of plants and trees

Food: Plant sap

Special features: Male scale insects look like a tiny midge, while the female has a shield-shaped body with no wings or legs. The males are rarely seen and the females are able to reproduce without the males.

There are around 140 native species in the UK, and at least another 30 species which have been introduced on imported plants. Scale insects are loathed by gardeners, and are among the worst agricultural pests in the world. They damage crops by drinking sap and injecting poisoned saliva.

The cotton wool-like fluff underneath the scale is the egg sac. Each can contain hundreds of eggs, and they are able to have six generations a year.

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UK Safari Creepy-Crawlies Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved