I wiped the leaves of this Umbrella plant (Variegated Schefflera) some weeks ago. Now I am seeing all these white and red bugs on the leaves of the plant. I can easily take them off with a stick. After taking one off, it doesn't seem like they are hurting the plant, but who knows? I don't know anything about them.

How should I get rid of them or should I leave them be? Are they eating other insects that can hurt my plant?

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  • 1
    I agree, scale. Stephie is correct as possible without hands on and knowing the big picture. They ARE cute. But as Stephie said, you don't want them loving your plants. They suck and can eventually kill.
    – stormy
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 5:43

3 Answers 3


Your Pokemons are waxy scale, or coccidae. Your description in the comments above is spot on: another name is "tortoise scale".

The Florida wax scale (Ceroplastes floridensis) looks quite similar, but I wouldn't venture a definitive id based on a few photos, Ceroplastes japonicus (pictures) is another possible candidate, and there are more Ceroplastes.

As cute as they are, they do damage your plant. The nymphs are sucking lots of plant sap, which weakens the plant and their sweet excrement (yes, they poop out sugars from the plant's sap) can be a base and fodder for fungal diseases. And they multiply quickly....

If you are a very patient person, you can pick them off every day or so, but with only limited success - especially the smallest ones hide in every nook and crevice. This is where an insecticide is justified. I personally had good success with systemic pesticides (ok here because you don't eat the schefflera), because it gets even the tiny ones that might hide from sprays.


The best way I've found to rid this plant of scale would be to tear a paper plate, one tear, one radius from edge to the center so that you can put that paper plate on your plant at the base. The plate is upside down when the plant is right side up, grins. It traps any soil that might fall out... Perfect use for NEEM. Use a big plastic pail, fill with water (measure amount), add proper amount of NEEM to the amount of water. Mix. Turn your plant upside down using that paper plate to hold the soil in the pot. Dip the entire plant in this NEEM and water dip. Swish around, upright let dry and replace. Wash saucers, sprinkle top of soil with a bit of NEEM. Go check your other plants for scale.


I think they're one of the mealy bugs, and the pinkish cluster are eggs - the beetle in the last picture might be one of the ladybirds, hard to be sure because it's out of focus. Mealy bug images here, though these are mostly mediterranean types http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-283893563/stock-photo-mealybugs-species-plant-pests-of-mediterranean-region-scale-insects-of-the-order-hemiptera.html?src=miR7AOKayurbVrAKHLU-yw-1-13

Mealybugs are not a good thing on plants - they suck the sap from the stems and leaves, reducing plant vigour, and increase in numbers quite rapidly. You can continue removing by hand at least daily, but its probably best to treat with something like neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of, or control, them. You should check all your other plants for signs of infestation too, and treat accordingly.

  • They are something else. Mealy bugs looks more like fluffy and bigger. maybe they are mealy bugs but not from the pics of google. They are more like hard. Like tortoise with white stings all around the body. I don't a have a good camera to take a really close up photo :(
    – 4-K
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 12:52
  • They still look like mealybugs to me - the white fringe round the outside is typical of this insect. Maybe someone else will come up with something else...
    – Bamboo
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 12:57
  • yeah they look very similar. Or maybe they are one.
    – 4-K
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 13:02
  • If by "pinkish cluster" you mean the largest thingies, that's the adult scale, the smaller spiky ones are their young nymphs.
    – Stephie
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 19:22

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