Soft brown scale

Coccus hesperidum

Adult Females are wingless bumps that are oval or round, soft, and legless, 1/10 to 1/5 inch (2.5-5 mm) in size. Adult males are very small, almost minute, with yellow wings. Early-stage larvae are called "crawers" and look like miniture mealybugs; as they grow older, they become immobile.

Damage: This is a piercing-sucking insect that sucks plant sap at all stages of its development, causing leaves to yellow and die. In severe infestations, plants will die. Soft brown scale secrete a sticky clear substance known as "honeydew" which provides the ideal environment to a fungus called "sooty mold" which can be more damaging than the scale itself. Sooty mold blackens the leaf, decreases photosynthesis activity, decreases vigor, and often causes disfigurement of the host plant. When the sooty mold occurs on fruit, it often becomes unmarketable or of a lower grade, as the fungus is difficult to wash off.

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