Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Cottony Scale and the Nuclear Option

Inside my house I have a 15' tall fiddle leaf fig.  I love my fiddle leaf fig.  It is currently under assault by cottony scale.  Cottony scale is an insect that most scientists believe comes from one of the lower levels of hell.  Spawned by the devil to attack beautiful, indoor plants, cottony scale serves no useful purpose and must be destroyed at all costs.

I've tried systemic poisons, spray on non-toxic insecticidal soaps and finally, at the suggestion of my gardening guru mother, rubbing alcohol applied with a cloth.  Only the rubbing alcohol has slowed it down.  Unfortunately, applying it with a cloth only leads to damage for the plant as the scale tends to hide out at the intersections of the leaves and the stem.  Today, I finally went with the nuclear option.

I filled a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and just blasted the infested parts of the tree.  I figure the tree's naturally waxy leaves and stem will be able to deal with the alcohol, but the scale won't.  We shall see.  In any case, the tree has been nuked pretty thoroughly.  More updates in the weeks to follow.


Wollf Howlsatmoon said...

Ok....Not joking here...hadda qualify first...I have a tendency to go with the "over the top" options....

Same Fiddle tree, same little nasties. ExP used the gamut of "cides, none of them worked and she demurred to a Spec Ops mission.

Propane Torch, wide angle flame fitting....worked like a charm.

Very little collateral damage, the insurrection was quashed handily.

(It's a little creepy if you're playing Wagners Flight of the Valkyries, though)

Maybe that's why she's the Ex-P.

K T Cat said...

Wollf, you're a genius. If my chemical attack doesn't work, I'll try your flamethrower idea.

Wollf Howlsatmoon said...

Ummm, K T? You might want to read my post this evening on squirrel removal before you use my ideas....just sayin...