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Cottony Cushion Scale

Sturgis McKeever, Georgia Southern University, Bugwood.org
Icerya purchasi Maskell
Description: Adult female scale has a fluted cottony egg sac secreted from the body of the scale. Other Homoptera produce massive quantities of white wax, including some species of aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and other scales. The cottony camellia scale, Pulvinaria floccifera (Westwood) is similar to the cottony cushion scale and occurs on camellia, English ivy, euonymous, holly, hydrangea, maple, mulberry, pittosporum, rhododendron, yew, and other ornamental plants.

Life Cycle: Intermediate. Eggs in the egg sac hatch into six-legged "crawler" stages than move onto larger twigs and branches. They develop through several stages before becoming adults. They retain their legs and are able to move throughout their development.

Habitat, Food Source(s), Damage: Developing stages suck sap from the host plants, resulting in reduced plant vigor, defoliation and dieback of twigs and branches. Adults are unsightly and produce large quantities of honeydew on which the sooty mold fungus grows, turning infested plants of parts black. Host plants include apple, Boston ivy, boxwood, cypress, hackberry, locust, maple, oaks, peaches and plums (Prunus), pecan, pears, pine, pittosporum, pomegranate, quince, rose, verbena, walnut, willow and other woody ornamentals.
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