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 Post subject: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:07 pm 
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I thought the droplets were little bits of water. Then i touched one, and apparently it is sap. I looked it up online and my beautiful kaffir lime tree is infected with scale! I am freaking out. I love this plant. So far i am cleaning the scale off with a toothbrush. Is there anything else i can do? Will the scale come back? WILL MY PLANT SURVIVE?

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 3:02 pm 
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i've been waging a war against scale on my potted lemon tree for years. your plant will survive even if there are always some bugs on it, but its growth might stall. you can scrape off all the ones you can see, but new ones will probably hatch in a few days. a soap/alcohol/water spray will help a little, maybe. i held out on using stronger pesticides for a long time, but eventually i gave in and got a pyrethrin spray, because things were getting really bad. how big is the tree? is it indoors?

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:03 pm 
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He's indoors, and about two feet tall. I used a soap/water/alcohol on the mixture when i scrubbed off the buggers. I am moving back to my parent's house soon, which is full of ladybugs. Maybe i will collect some.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:20 pm 
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you should spray it once a week with whatever you're using to kill off new hatchlings until you think things are under control. make sure you're getting a really good coating on the underside of the leaves, because scale love to gather there around the veins. i like to put my tree in the shower and give it a good rub and rinse to get all the sap off before i spray it with anything, to make sure the pesticide is able to make good contact with the pests. i hope the ladybugs help you! (but be careful, because sprays that are bad for scale can be bad for all the other bugs, too.)

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:38 pm 
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Thank you so much for the help! I really like this plant so i was pretty upset to find it out was covered in bugs that i didn't even notice for who even knows how long. I used a pair of tweezers to pick off a bunch of bugs. I think a lot of them were already dead from the scrub, but i want to be able to keep track of new ones. Do you think the spray would kill lady bugs if the lady bugs were on the plant after i spray it?

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:34 pm 
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i really don't know how dangerous a soap spray is for ladybugs. i'd definitely avoid spraying after they'd been introduced. maybe give the tree a last spritz after a couple of rounds, wait the week you'd wait anyway, spray it down with regular water, and then bring the ladybugs in.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:30 pm 
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How contagious are scales? As in, if i keep them in a separate room from other susceptible plants, or a few feet away, will they spread?

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:13 am 
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once they've reached the adult phase and attached themselves to the plant, they aren't able to move, but the immature scale can walk around a bit, and there's some risk of you transferring them from one plant to another if they find their way onto you. a few feet might not be far enough; a separate room is probably plenty of distance, as long as you try to save the infested plant for last when you're watering things.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:29 am 
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YES! Ladybugs are ferocious killing machines! (most of them anyway)

Oil-based sprays are usually recommended for scale, these will suffocate them. They can be petroleum or vegetable based, or even DIY.

Should be pretty ladybug safe after a few days. I wouldn't worry too much about them spreading, they've already been knocked around a bit and aren't big movers. Just make sure you wash your hands after touching them, and make sure not to brush past with your leg and stuff. Ants can also move scale about.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:15 am 
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Do you have any instructions for making scale killing oil-based spray? Would i just mix some oil in with the solution i am already using?
I have picked so many scales off of my poor plant. :( I am so bummed that i did not notice it earlier. I am pretty novice with gardening/raising plants. *sigh* at least now i know what to look out for.

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:55 am 
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annabazoo wrote:
Do you have any instructions for making scale killing oil-based spray? Would i just mix some oil in with the solution i am already using?

Yeah pretty much. I usually avoid home made sprays as I don't know enough about them, and sometimes they can be a bit harsh and burn new foliage. Here is a basic recipe to get you started, though I haven't used it myself.

If you can find a product similar to this I'd highly recommend using it. Oh, and acr's shower tip is excellent, make sure you get good coverage!

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 Post subject: Re: HELP! Scale on my Kaffir Lime
PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:49 am 
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An update: my plant is doing very well. I used the white oil recipe you gave me. I don't see any new bugs, and all the ones i pick off are dead. He is hanging out by the sunny window in my bathroom, which gets nice and humid everytime i take a hot shower. I really hope i can get rid of the scales before i go back to school. I only have one sunny window at my apartment and it had a few other plants in it.

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