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Wax Scales (Japanese, Florida, or Indian wax scale) Ceroplastes spp.

Wax scales on a plant with green berries

Adult females are about 1/4 inch long and reddish. They are covered with a gummy, white wax that look like a dunce cap. Immatures resemble cameos with the developing areas of white was not yet completely covering the reddish body. There is one generation a year. Adult females overwinter on bark.

Wax scales feed on many shrubs and trees, but Japanese holly, Chinese holly, euonymus, boxwood, firethorn, spirea, barberry, and flowering quince are preferred.

Large numbers of foraging bees, wasps, hornets, and ants on dense shrubs may indicate wax scale. Look for honeydew and sooty mold. Look on twigs and small branches for all wax scale stages. Crawlers begin hatching in early summer in Georgia.

Beginning in May, examine female wax scales on leaves and branches every one to two weeks and determine when eggs begin to hatch. Remove heavily infested twigs or branches. Infested twigs and branches must be sprayed thoroughly with horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or a contact or systemic insecticide after egg hatch and when crawlers are present on the plant to achieve effective control.