Natural control of scale insects on your plants!

I could probably say that I am a very enthusiastic gardener, even if I couldn’t say I was an avid one! 🙂 Though I have killed an unlucky plant here or there, for the most part, I think I have done a decent job in keeping them alive!

One of our neighbors had given us a very pretty house plant – an Anthurium. (My plant doesn’t have flowers right now, so I’m using a stock photo here).

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It was doing fine, until I saw the leaves covered with some sort of brown scale. Initially, there weren’t that many, and so I did not think too much about it, but pretty soon, it was more prominent.

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When I realized that it was a problem was when I started seeing these scales on my curry leaf plants that were all the way across on the other side of the house!

A quick visit to Google told me that these were scale insects, and also some ways to remove/control these critters. Most involve isolating the sick plant (so that it doesn’t spread to other plants –  too late!), and scraping off the scale insects manually – a very tedious project, and you are never sure if you got all the suckers (pun intended!). Other methods include using rubbing alcohol on each individually, or using some insecticidal soap.

That’s when serendipity struck!

My curry leaf plants (that usually grow in tropical climates) were pretty slow growing in the temperate climate here, and so I decided that they needed some sun (now that summer was here), and took them outside into the garden.

Pretty soon, I saw that they were now covered with ants. “I wonder what the ants want with curry leaves”, I thought to myself. As I watched them over the next few days, I saw that the number of scales was also starting to reduce! It appeared that the ants were feasting on these scales!

And indeed, after a few days, my curry leaf plants were completely scale free. COMPLETELY!

I am now repeating that trick with the Anthurium plant. It has been sitting outside for a few days, and sure enough, the ants are back!

The scales are now far fewer on the Anthurium, and I expect it to be scale free in a few days!

Here is a photo of the work in progress – showing the scales, ants, and all! Aren’t natural solutions the best!!?!

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I will update this post hopefully with a completely scale-free Anthurium, in a few days! Fingers crossed! 🙂

Blue skies!

Sridhar

 

 

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