Mature scale insect females are visible with crawlers on the branch of a magnolia tree. This part of the scale life cycle takes place in early August as crawlers are mobile and looking to settle in and begin feeding for winter.

I returned to the business office this week from a weeklong staycation to various requests from householders to identify a thriller ailment impacting the magnolia trees in their landscape.

A very little diagnostic do the job disclosed colourful, waxy, bumpy growths on the trunk and branches, and a black, dusty material on the leaves, foremost to 1 conclusion: magnolia scale with sooty mold.

Magnolia scale (Neolecanium cornuparvum) is one particular of most significant and most noticeable scale bugs in our Ohio landscapes. Never heard of scales? Although they truly really do not resemble most insects that we visualize influencing trees in the landscape, scales are a type of insect.

A local resident recently submitted this photo for diagnostics to the Ohio State University Extension. It's a case of magnolia scale, diagnosed by the characteristic colorful raised bumps on the branch of a magnolia tree.

Generally showing as a elevated place on tree branches and trunks with a delicate and shiny tan-brown or even a bit delicate-orange coloring and easy outer layer, they effects their host by inserting needle-like, sucking mouth components to obtain the sap discovered inside of.

This form of problems weakens branches and expanding twigs, stunting advancement. Leaf advancement could also stop building a thinning cover. Growing scales are often coated with a white mealy wax and can also look white in coloration and fuzzy in look. Continual feeding and heavy infestation can kill a mature tree.

A secondary challenge with insect scales is that they secrete excess plant sap as a crystal clear sticky compound known as honeydew. As the scales feed, the honeydew drips and coats close by foliage and branches, offering the best ecosystem for the growth of a black fungus known as sooty mould.

Scale insect honeydew is secreted onto foliage and branches below the infested parts of the tree, providing the optimal environment for the establishment of a black fungus called sooty mold.  Honeydew is a sticky, sweet substance excreted by the scale insect. It is very attractive to other insects such as ants, wasps, bees  and flies who like to feed on it.

Sooty mould is deemed harmless and a lot more of nuisance in most circumstances but can confirm a problem when it fully addresses the leaf floor, hindering photosynthesis. An contaminated magnolia can soil anything at all positioned beneath it with the honeydew, particularly benches, birdbaths, backyard art and sidewalks. The honeydew can also entice ants, bees, wasps and flies that like to feed on it.

The principal goal of this insect pest is the assorted species of magnolia. Saucer, star and lily magnolia kinds are the most usually affected and are most prone to significant infestation. Other customers of the species this kind of as cucumber tree and southern magnolia are fewer very likely to be impacted by magnolia scale.