Gloomy Scale

Cary, NC – Gloomy Scale – (photo credit)

Our friends at Leapfrog Landcare recently shared an interesting article about Gloomy Scale that is valuable information to share here with our Garden Supply Co. readers, too.  Gloomy Scale is a tiny bug that infects the healthy tissue of maple trees, especially the soft maples such as boxelder, red maple and silver maple. Grape, soapberry, native hollies, mulberry, sweetgum, and buckthorn may also be infested. And if left untreated, these little buggers can cause all sorts of havoc.

Seems that Gloomy Scale insects have been spending the winter snuggled up in their arboreal homes, and are about ready to resume development next month with their first offspring crawlers showing up in May. Crawlers are produced until the middle of August at which time practically every stage of development can be found. Males emerge in August and September and mate with new females. There is one generation per year.

Gloomy Scale detail- (photo credit)

Here’s what Greg, of Leapfrog Landcare shared.

“Gloomy Scale is a parasite that sucks the sugar out of the sap of Maple trees and when they multiply each female can reproduce up to 500 more!!! If a tree has only 50 females of this tiny bug and each of them reproduce 500 more, then that tree now has 25,000 or more Gloomy Scale that are all drinking from the tree. They keep populating the tree until it is just covered one scale on top of the other and it makes the tree trunk and limbs turn black and eventually as the infestation turns severe the tree can’t force enough sap past them to get all the way out to the ends of the limbs. So, at that point the tree starts dying from the ends of the limbs back causing a slow, ugly death.”

If left untreated, your maple trees can suffer severe damage from limb die-back or even death. But there is treatment. A horticultural oil as a dormant application is probably the most effective chemical treatment for gloomy scale control. However, sometimes trees are so large that thorough coverage is difficult. That’s when it is a good idea to call in the experts, like Greg. But hurry, you’ll need to treat your trees before their leaves come out this spring.

For more information on Gloomy Scale and it’s treatment, come talk to our friendly experts at Garden Supply Co. or look up Greg at Leapfrog Landcare. They offer full tree and shrub treatment plans as well as organic lawncare services for all your home garden maintenance needs.