Definition of scale insect in US English:

scale insect

noun

  • A small insect with a protective shieldlike scale. It spends most of its life attached by its mouth to a single plant, sometimes occurring in such large numbers that it becomes a serious pest.

    Superfamily Coccoidea, suborder Homoptera: several families, in particular Coccidae

    • ‘The emerald ash borer is only one of the many threats to the nation's forests, which are also being attacked by the Asian longhorn beetle, gypsy moth, beech scale insect, hemlock wooley adelgid and sudden oak death fungus.’
    • ‘Without the scale insect and its sugary excretions, these birds would be much less common in beech forests, to the detriment of some resident plants.’
    • ‘The nonnative coconut moth had all but caused the collapse of the coconut industry in Fiji when scientists, spurred by the vedalia's success against the scale insect in California, introduced a parasitic fly to tackle their problem.’
    • ‘And on top of that, the crazy ants have this mutualism with a scale insect, so you can also get a dieback happening in the canopy as well.’
    • ‘In the late 1880s, for example, predaceous ladybird beetles imported from Australia had decimated the cottony-cushion scale insect that was consuming citrus crops in California.’

Pronunciation

scale insect

/skāl ˈinˌsekt/