bugs or disease on leaf brocolli?

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I had a leaf brocolli over-winter and go to seed, but lately I have seen just a few clusters of some gray infestation. They clumps are mostly on the outermost tips, but sometimes ikn a "crotch" or node.

The clumps are quite dense and clumpy as if fairly big gray and gray-white bugs all climbed up the branch to the highest spot until they were shoulder-to-shoulder. Or it looks a little like a clump of bumpy bird dung.

They are easy to brush off with a twig, and what's left behind looks wet, perhaps with sucked-out plant juice.

I cut the tips off and throw them into a sealed rubbish can. Only a tiny amount of the plant iks affected, but I want it to stay healthy until I can harvest thehuge amount of seed it promises.

The big plants are now almost entirely pods and stems and branches: just a few small leaves are left lower down.


The plant is Brassica oleracea var. 'Spigariello' . ("Spigariello Liscia" or "Broccolo Spigariello"). It was supposed to be an annual, but I saw NO pods all last summer or winter. It looked happy all winter (supposed to be hardy down to 25 F). This spring it started growing again, then threw out a million pods.

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Here are all the plants in perspective. It might have doubled its height since it wen t to seed, hence the ad hoc propping-up.

They were pretty when in bloom!

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

Hard to tell without seeing an isolated bug, but it looks like mealie bug or a soft scale insect to me. For either, insecticidal soap or a mixture of alchohol and water spray should get rid of them.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Cool. The first Internet pics of "scale" I found made them seem much smaller.

I'll load up some alchol and water in a spray bottle and see what that does when they accumulate zsomewhere other than a tip.

What proportions do you use? I assume start with 70% Isopropyl alcohol with no glycerine, diluted somewhere between 50:50 and 90:10.

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

Can't help with ratios. I've never used it as a spray myself...I use it strait on a Q-tip before trhe numbers can grow, or use insecticidal soap. If no one else chimes in, you will find a lot of references on this forum, if you scan a bit.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmm, the Q-tip gives me an idea. A very small sprayer (it held a sample of hair spray) and a strong mix.

Searching around, I see insecticidal soap and "summer oil" or "PAM" recommended for scale.

bleach free dishwashing liquid (1 1/2 teaspoons per one quart of water) (1/128)

Homemade oil spray:
- two tablespoons of cooking oil
- two tablespoons of baby shampoo
- one gallon of water.
- optionally + one cup of alcohol to help penetrate the insectís shell. (1/16th)

Those are more dilute than I wsould have guessed.

I'm thinking now that I don't even know for sure that these things are "scale". Maybe I should try a few things.

My starting points will be
- 1:16 alcohol to water, like 2 ounces per quart
- 1:128 dishwashing liquid to water, like 1 tablespoon per half-gallon

And ... blow them off with a hard mister!

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

I don't believe "dishwashing liquid" is much more than a "spreader/sticker", as most kinds are not soap, but detergent. It's the fatty acids in soap that get through the waxy coating on the bugs. Always worth trying what you have on hand though.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Now I almost find myself hoping those nasties coime back so I can try zapping them with different things!

But I can "settle" for bug-free plants!

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