I have a number of orchids, which are doing well in general terms, but which are becoming increasingly infested with scale insects.

I've tried manual removal, and spraying with such things as Neem oil, washing up liquid and various other old wives' tales, but nothing has helped.

They are mostly blooming quite happily, and the leaves seem in decent condition, other than the inevitable stickiness. The flowers show various levels of infestation, from none at all...

healthy flowers with little infestation

...to heavy...

enter image description here

The stems are generally well infested...

scale insects on stem

Is there anything I can do, other than throw them all out and buy new ones?

  • can you add some photos please, only its quite unusual for scale insect to be present on flowers.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 26, 2019 at 20:39
  • @Bamboo I'll try and add some tomorrow. I'm on a tablet now, so not easy. Oct 26, 2019 at 22:34
  • I have a few variety s of orchids and have never seen scale on them although I have had bad scale on a staghorn fern that hangs next to them . I have also had scale on other plants , I guess it is a different type scale. Oct 26, 2019 at 23:44
  • @Bamboo Pictures added Oct 27, 2019 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


There is definitely a scale infestation - not sure what they are on the flowers though, but I suppose they could be crawlers from the adult scales. Orchid scale is difficult to deal with - as you've tried more natural remedies already, you may have to try an insecticide, but orchids differ in regard to how they respond to insecticide sprays, and they may cause damage. If you haven't tried isopropyl alcohol for the ones on the stems yet, that is worth trying, but you can't use that on the flowers. Further info here https://www.thespruce.com/get-rid-of-orchid-scale-1902838

  • Thanks for that. Looks like it would be easier to throw them out and buy some new ones. Don't like doing that, but it seems to be a never-ending battle, and with small children around, I don't like the idea of insecticides. Thanks again. Oct 27, 2019 at 15:56
  • If you buy more later on, inspect them carefully before you pay - their presence at point of sale is usually how they arrive
    – Bamboo
    Oct 27, 2019 at 16:17
  • Good point, thaks Oct 27, 2019 at 16:54

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