A Technical Report from The Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories
Wax scales (Ceroplastes spp.) are soft scale insects that are perennial pests of several species of ornamental shrubs and trees. Wax scales feed on dozens of hosts, but Japanese and Chinese hollies, pyracantha, spirea, ivy, hemlock, euonymus, and boxwood are commonly infested plants. These insects are primarily pests in the southern U.S., but have expanded their range further north as the climate of these regions has become more conducive to their survival. Common wax scale pests include the wax scale (C. ceriferus), Chinese wax scale (C. sinensis), Florida wax scale (C. floridensis), and barnacle wax scale (C. cirripediformis). As is typical with soft scales, wax scales exude “honeydew,” a sugary liquid attractive to ants and stinging insects. Honeydew also promotes the growth of unsightly black sooty mold.