Insect identification > Homoptera > Scale insects > Black scale

Black scale

The black scale (Saissetia oleae Bern.). - This scale is found in nearly all parts of the world. It has a long list of food plants but is chiefly a pest on citrus trees and the olive, oleander, apricot and prune. In the United States it is therefore chiefly important in the South and West.

The adult female scale is from one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch in diameter and almost hemispherical in form, black in color and with ridges forming an H on the back. The male scales are much smaller, long, narrow and flat.

The eggs, from 50 to 3,000, are for May, June and early July, and the adult condition is reached early the next year, though variation from this is frequent.

The young scales attack the leaves generally but later pass to the twigs. The injury they cause by removing the sap from the tree is increased by the honeydew they secrete, which, falling in large amounts on fruit and leaves, forms an excellent material in which a sooty fungus grows and more or less cuts off light from the leaf surface, thus affecting the growth, and may also clog the stomata or breathing pores on the leaves, besides causing the fruit to look objectionable and need cleaning before its sale.