scale insect


: any of numerous small prolific homopterous insects (superfamily Coccoidea) that have winged males, wingless scale-covered females attached to the host plant, and young that suck the juices of plants and some of which are serious pests

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The individual scale insects are enrobed in fungal chambers which shield them from predators and the elements, though some are parasitized so the fungus can obtain nutrients. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 16 Mar. 2023 The scale insects and sooty mold should slough off over a period of weeks. Orlando Sentinel, 4 Mar. 2023 In 2008, another American group found a 105-million-year-old piece of amber containing a scale insect, with two Cordyceps stalks sticking out of its head. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 18 Aug. 2010 The life of the cottony cushion scale insect reads like something from the most ridiculous of tabloid newspapers. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 15 July 2011 The story of carminic acid traces back thousands of years to bright red Phoenician garments colored by a crushed scale insect of the Kermes genus. Brittany J. Miller, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2022 The company officially launched in 2019 with successful traction from its first pilot customers and by 2020, Cogastro software was enabling operations in 10 large-scale insect farm productions globally. Jackie Abramian, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 Another more persistent and more damaging creature than the cicada is the scale insect, actually a range of scale species that have their own preferences for ornamental woody plants and citrus. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Control scale by applying dormant or horticultural oil, which coats the calcium cover and eventually suffocates the scale insect within its shell. Calvin Finch,, 26 Dec. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scale insect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1840, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scale insect was in 1840

Dictionary Entries Near scale insect

Cite this Entry

“Scale insect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

scale insect

: any of numerous small insects related to aphids and including many destructive plant pests in which the males have wings, the females are scale-covered and are often permanently attached to a host plant, and the young suck the juices of plants

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