Armored Scale Insect Pests of Trees and Shrubs. D.R. Miller and J.A. Davidson. 2005. Comstock Publishing Associates (A Division Cornell University Press), Sage House, 512 East State Street, Ithaca, New York 14850. 442 pages. Over 100 figures and approximately 100 color plates. $99.95, Hardcover. ISBN: 978-0-8014-4279-7
Armored or hard scale insects are among the most damaging pests of trees and shrubs in landscapes, orchards, greenhouses, conservatories, and forests. However, there has never been a comprehensive reference that adequately discusses in detail biology and field identification characters, as well as providing color images of the most common armored scale insects in the United States. Well, the book, Armored Scale Insect Pests of Trees and Shrubs by Douglas Miller and John Davidson is the first comprehensive book available that provides information on identification, field appearance, life history, and economic importance of the 100 economically important armored scale insects of the USA. In addition, the authors have developed the first field key to the economically important armored scale insect pests of the United States. The book is divided up into three primary sections: introduction, descriptions of armored scale insects along with color images and line drawings, and indexes. The introduction is extensive and extremely useful since it provides information on the biology, ecology, management, economic importance, and morphology of armored scale insects. Furthermore, there is information on the materials and methods needed for collection and dry preservation, liquid preservation, and slide mounting of specimens, which makes it easier to accurately identify field specimens. The management section is very thorough in that there is information pertaining to detection, identification, monitoring, chemical control, biological control, cultural control, host-plant resistance, and integrated pest management (IPM). The authors provide in-depth descriptions of a variety of chemical control options including oils, soaps, synthetic organic insecticides, growth regulators, and pheromones and discuss scale resistance to insecticides. The authors also provide a detailed description of the biological control agents or natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators that regulate armored scale insect populations. In addition, there are colored images of many of the natural enemies mentioned in the text. No other reference available thoroughly covers the following topics as this one does.
The two keys, “Key to Adult Females (Microscopic Characters)” and “Field Key to Economic Armored Scales” are a useful feature of the book to help accurately identify armored scale insects. Approximately 3/4 of the book is devoted to descriptions of 110 armored scale insects along with color images and line drawings. The following information is included for each armored scale insect discussed: Entomological Society of America (ESA) approved common name, common synonyms and combinations, field characters, slide mounted characters, affinities, hosts, distribution, biology, economic importance, and selected references. The quality color plates of the female, male, and nymphs (crawlers), and highly detailed line drawings are one of the features that will make this book so valuable to extension agents, consultants, and growers.
I found the References Cited section to be a valuable addition to the book since it allows the reader to obtain more detailed information. In fact, I have acquired many of the references cited in the book for my own information and research. Finally, there is an index on “Host Plants of Armored Scales” and “Armored Scales, Natural Enemies, and General Subjects.” Both of these indexes allow the reader to easily locate specific information described in the text.
The book, Armored Scale Insect Pests of Trees and Shrubs is a valuable contribution to the understanding and identification of the armored scale insect pests in the United States, and despite the cost, should be on the bookshelf of practitioners involved in pest management of landscapes, nurseries, orchards, and forests