Scale insects (Superfamily, Coccoidea) are divided into groups, primarily depending on morphological features. Females are wingless and usually legless, and males have only a single pair of wings. Females and nymphs feed by sucking plant fluids; males have no mouthparts. Development of scale insects includes the production of eggs or live young, an active first stage, but the remaining stages are sessile. Soft-scale (family Coccidae) females are elongate oval, usually convex, and with a smooth exoskeleton or a wax covering. Legs are usually present, and antennae are absent or much reduced. Males are sometimes wingless.

Brown soft scale, Coccus hesperidum Females are oval, reddish brown to pale yellow, often with a brown marbled appear ance dorsally. Eggs hatch when they are laid, and first-stage nymphs disperse in a few days. Development requires about 30 days under suitable conditions; there are several generations per year. Large infestations result in excessive honeydew on leaves. A fungus, Capnodium spp., grows on the honeydew and causes the leafsurface to appear black and sooty. This insect is a pest of ornamentals and houseplants around the world. It may occur on bay leaves in the UK and parts of Europe. When the bay leaves are harvested, the scale may be included on some of the leaves, especially if young leaves are taken.

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