Soft Shell Scale

Soft shell scale attach themselves to a plant where they suck out nutrients and fluids. Soft shell scale produce a substance called honeydew.

What Is It?

Soft shell scale is a broad category used to describe multiple species of scale insects. The soft shell variety are best known for the sugary liquid they produce called honeydew. Unlike the Hardshell or armored variety of scale, soft shell scale insects feed directly on the plant parts that transport nutrients and fluid as opposed to the individual plant cells.

Plants Affected:

Plants that can be infested with soft shell scale include, but are not limited to:

  • Maple
  • Boxelder
  • Linden
  • Elms
  • Magnolia
  • Spruce

Damage Caused:

Honeydew is how soft shell scale insects are best identified, however this fluid does not cause any actual damage. The Honeydew however can be an unpleasant nuisance to homeowners or anybody who spends time near an infested tree. Soft shell scale consume nutrients directly out of the host plant. Depending on the species and severity of the infestation, damage can be as minor as leaf deformation to as severe as limb death.


Soft shell scale activity can vary based on the specific species of insect, however activity is most likely to occur in May, June, or July.

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