Lords Juniper Scale


[Infested Branch, Juniper Scale] DESCRIPTION:
Juniper scales are light gray or white in color, very small (about 2mm) in diameter, and nearly circular. These insects become abundant on the needles, especially the undersides. The scales always attach themselves to needles rather than bark.

Juniper scale is a pest of ornamental junipers, especially the pfitzers. Badly infested plants show a yellowish-brown foliage color and the overall appearance of the plant is similar to a plant badly in need of fertilizer or water. Portions of the dead branches may be visible. Taking a closer look at the branches may reveal the scale insects on the undersides of the needles. Plants decline over time and may be killed by severe infestations.

The scale insects overwinter as nearly full grown individuals and mature in the spring. Under her scale covering, the female lays eggs in the spring. She dies soon after egg laying but the scale cover remains attached to the needle, often for several years. The crawlers (immature scales) hatch from the eggs, usually in June in New York State, and leave the scale cover to search for a place to feed. The crawler stage may last for as short as 24 hours and after finding a feeding site the small, straw-colored crawler attaches itself to a needle and begins to feed. Soon it develops a coat of armor (the scale covering). The immature scales continue to feed and grow during the summer and during this growing period the skin is shed several times. The shed skins make up the hard protective cover for the scale insect. By late fall the scales are nearly full grown and ready to overwinter. The cycle is repeated year after year.
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