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Cottony Maple Scale

USDA Forest Service - Ogden Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
The cottony maple scale, Pulvinaria innumerabilis (Rathvon), is a highly modified insect pest that commonly attacks silver and red maples. The scales are usually first noticed when the females produce an egg sac which appears as a 1/4 to 1/2-inch long ball of cotton. Heavy infestations can result in branches being turned completely white with the egg sacs. Like most scale insects, the nearly mature insects, the adults and the eggs are resistant to pesticides and the anxious tree owner must wait until the correct time for management.
Plants Attacked

Cottony maple scales reach epidemic numbers on silver maple but noticeable populations can occur on red maple. It is also known to be able to survive on other species of maple, honey and black locust, white ash, euonymus, oak, boxelder, dogwood, hackberry, sycamore, beech, elm, willow, basswood, and poplar.
Damage

Normally, this scale is a mere curiosity and nuisance. The white egg sacs easily attract attention and the developing scales produce honeydew. Honeydew is the excess water and sugar excreted by many plant sap-feeding insects. Honeydew is commonly mistaken for "plant sap" being dropped on cars, sidewalks and lawn furniture lying under trees. When honeydew collects on leaves and branches, bees, wasps and ants are attracted to the area. If the honeydew is allowed to remain, molds called "sooty fungus" grow on the material, turning the surface a gray-black color.

Occasionally, heavy outbreaks of this scale occur, usually on weakened or stressed trees. These outbreaks can cause the death of numerous small branches and occasionally the death of a tree.  
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