Tips to treat scale on rose bushes
Picture: Deryn Thorpe

Scale is a common blight on rose bushes but the problem is a simple one to manage.

This is about the best time of the year to see what's attacking your rose bushes because the plants should be bare after pruning and pests can be seen on the stems.

One of the most common pests that will be found is rose scale (Aulacaspis rosae), which not only affects roses but all the berry bushes.

The female scale is only 2mm long, circular and a cream colour. The actual insect is underneath the scale and is a brownish/red colour with a segmented, long thin body. The males are elongated and white, only 1mm long with wings. Unless you have a good magnifying glass they will just look like small white dots you can scrape off with your nail.

It's a bit tough for males in the scale world. They don't even have mouth parts so they can't feed; their sole purpose is to breed and they only live for two days. At least they get a set of wings to party with before they perish.

The female scale lays eggs, usually on the lower part of the rose bush, and she can lay several generations a year. Interestingly, as soon as the eggs develop into crawlers they move away from their mothers to another part of the rose bush. Perhaps our adult children still living at home could replicate this practice.

Rose scale is easy to manage though as it's sedentary and usually only seen on weak plants.

You can simply scrape them off with a brush, spray with eco-oil or wait for the many natural predators to knock them off for you.

The West Australian

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