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Also known as Scale Insects


Scale are insects which measure between 1/16 and 1/4 inch. They are slow moving and have round, oyster-shaped bodies that come in various colors, including white, gray, black, brown and yellow. Scale insects thrive on almost any part of African Violets, feeding on the juices from the leaves and stems. If left untreated, Scale are fatal to African Violets.

Common species include Fern Scale (Pinnaspis aspidistrae) and Brown Soft Scale (Coccus hesperidum).

Distinguishing Symptoms

If your African Violet has this symptom, it probably has Scale.

Other Symptoms


First, isolate all affected plants in order to prevent any further spread. Next, if the infestation is not too severe, try removing the Scale with a soft-bristled toothbrush which has been dipped in either soapy water or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

For heavier infestations, spray with Acephate or Malathion (as directed on label). Repeat every six to seven days until Scale has been eradicated. (Note: Since Malathion may discolor flowers, Acephate is preferred. Acephate is available in household insect sprays. However, many of these sprays contain a specific additive which may damage the foliage of African Violets. Therefore, if available, use a soluble powder, and mix your own spray.


Always isolate new plants until you can positively determine that they are not infested.

Thoroughly wash hands before handling your plants.

Before repotting, pasteurize soil and disinfect pots with a 10 percent bleach solution, i.e., 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Always isolate new African Violets until you can determine that they are not infested.

Important Note on the Use of Pesticides

Please note that almost all pesticides are formulated for specific uses and conditions. When applied incorrectly, pesticides can cause ill health or damage to plants. Therefore, when using any kind of pesticide or chemical treatment, always apply as indicated on the product label.

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