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Magnolia Soft Scale



Authors as Published

Eric R. Day, Director, Insect Identification Laboratory, Virginia Tech

Homoptera: Coccidae, Neolecanium carnuparuum

Plants Attacked


Description of Damage

Heavy magnolia soft scale infestations cause stunting of twigs and undersize leaves, visibly weakening the trees. Small trees may be killed. Large trees lose branches and tree shape may become irregular.


The color of females ranges from a dull grayish brown to a dark brown or a smoky hue. Scale has a varnishlike appearance. Some specimens appear covered with a powdery wax material. Females are hemispherical and about 1/2 inch in diameter. Magnolia soft scale, Neolecanium carnuparuum, is in the order Homoptera and family Coccidae.




Life History

The overwintering scale begins feeding in late spring or early summer and matures by early August. The females, which are parthenogenetic, give birth to living young in late August. The old adults then fall from the plant. The crawlers soon settle and feed on plant juices. They develop to second instar before cold weather and overwinter in this stage.


Dormant oils may be sprayed in March or April prior to bud opening. Sprays for crawlers may also be applied in late August and repeated 10 to 14 days later.


Controlling crawlers is usually easier and, in most cases, gives more effective results.


Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.


Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Jewel E. Hairston, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.


May 1, 2009

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