Sorry. These little bugs are N. A. S. T. Y. I have a few plants I keep outside in the summer and then bring them in during my zone 3 winter. They all do fine through December. But then, the days start to get longer. The plants begin to shoot out new growth and flower buds. That’s when the plant scale also emerges. Want to see what plant scale is? Here’s a website about how to “control them.”
For four winters in a row, I have been able to limp my plants along to spring using ever bit of gardening advice and scale killing product I found. If the plants do make it, they go outside and within a week ~ No Scales!
For me, the first sign of scale is usually fallen leaves like this.
Scale are hard to see if you don’t look for them. This is an infected Jasmine. The scale are on all sides of the leaves and even the stems of small branches.
The scales secrete a sticky “mildew” substance. It is really nasty stuff. It covers the leaves of the plant, it falls onto tables, and can ruin a wood finish. So that is a double bonus of having scale.
I have tried being organic and using soaps and oils to get rid of them. It doesn’t work.
I have tried diligently tapping them with a cotton swab with alcohol. They come back.
I have tried isolating plants, and treating them with several DIY solutions by bloggers and gardening websites. The scales always survive.
So, I went to a friend of mine who owns a greenhouse and got some serious insecticide. I sprayed it on my plant and it smelled the whole house up. (I did this when my wife was gone – don’t tell her). It didn’t work.
This year, I tried a mixture of soap, oil, peppermint essential oil, and a spray bottle. The mixture suffocated everything. The leaves all died with the scale. The jury is still out to see if the next generation of scale survives. But at least the plant smelled nice, which is kind of the point of having Jasmine.
But, every year in the spring I am able to take the plant outdoors and the scale always disappears in a week. Supposedly, ants harvest scale and bring them back to their nests to feed on the honeydew. That seems to make some sense and would explain what I have experienced.
My suggestion to you if you get scale: Burn you plant. Nothing gets rid of scale except ants. Unless you want ants in your house in the winter, save your healthy plants by burning the infected ones.