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I have over 30 bromeliads in a 36x18x36 and just discovered a few established colonies of scale insects on a few of them. They’re not much to look at right now, but from all the horror stories I’ve read it’s only a matter of time before they infest every single bromeliad.

The tank is frogless (and will be for sometime) so I’m willing to remove all the broms for intensive treatment. What is the proper procedure for ridding every scale, though?

I’m pretty bummed cause the broms were purchased from a reputable source and the tank has not seen any new plant introductions for almost a year. Would it be best to just scrap them all and leave the tank bromless (and starving off the specialized scale) for a period of time before introducing new plants?
 

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Rubbing alcohol is very effective on many types of scale, but you would need to rub down/off EVERY SINGLE scale or crawler. You might want to try cleaning the broms as best you can, and growing them outside of the tank for a while to see if there is any recurrence.
If you wanted to go medieval on them, you could also try the pesticide Orthene, but you would need to grow the plants outside of the viv for several weeks/months after application until the systemic properties of the poison have worked their way out of the plant.
 

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Once they're in your tank, they'll always be there. You could remove the bromeliads and reintroduce later, but it would come back, since they'd be lurking on other plants in the tank as well. You could tear out the bromeliads and treat them, as Dane described, but you'd have to place them in a different tank afterward, and leave your current tank without broms, unless you want to keep repeating the process, or hand-removing scale with q-tips. You'd be just keeping their numbers controlled, and the infestation would never be eliminated.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I had to tear apart a whole tank once because of this, and it was very frustrating.

I think even after treating the affected plants, I would still be leery about using them again. Nasty, vile, little things, scale insects. I'm cringing for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks for the input guys!

I’ll definitely give the systemic a try—I have no problem growing the plants outside the vivarium for awhile, if not permanently.

Is this the product that I want?

https://www.amazon.com/Orthene-Acephate-Systemic-Insecticde-Ornamentals/dp/B008ISRH02

If anything I’d just like to save the plants from any heavy/future infestation, they’re doing great and beautiful. Perhaps I’ll just replace them with orchids in the vivarium.
 

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I just read about using coffee grounds or coffee "tea" as a pesticide for scale insects, but it will apparently kill all insects so the ladybugs are probably a much better idea. You could also look for a fancy praying mantis, they eat scale insects and I frequently see them at reptile stores.
 

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I tried everything advised and they just came back. I removed the infested bromeliad and binned it. I have not seen anything for over six months now.
 

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I tried everything advised and they just came back. I removed the infested bromeliad and binned it. I have not seen anything for over six months now.
Oh really? I'm interested to hear the lady bugs didn't work for you. How many did you use, and what type of scale?
 

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Definitely depends on the type of scale. I’d prefer the dark armored scale over boisdivul.
 

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I have a question about brom scale in my 75 gallon viv. I have a water feature going right down the middle of my tank, running down the background rockwork into a small stream splitting the tank in two. There are scales on the broms on the right side of the water, but I can't find a single speck on any of the broms on the left side. Is it possible the water is preventing them from travelling across the tank? If I discard the infected plants, what are the odds the ones on the other side will be ok?
 

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I bought a planted viv and one of the Neos developed scale. The others, (different varieties) never had issue.
If there are animals in with them, I suggest removing the plant. That’s the better way, slip a bag over the plant and get it out. If you want to rehab it, a soapy mechanical removal of them is pretty easy. Do your best to identify what type they are and make a plan of reapplication of a dish soap to try to inhibit the next generation.
 
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