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ScaleNet: For All You Want to Know About Scale Insects

By Hank Becker
April 23, 1999

Doug Miller is one of the world’s leading experts on scale insects. If you doubt this, check out ScaleNet.

ScaleNet, designed to bring information about scale insects to homeowners, farmers and scientists, is on the World Wide Web at:

Scale insects damage millions of dollars worth of food, ornamental, fiber and greenhouse crops each year. Until ScaleNet, information about the pests was buried in thousands of scientific journals and books--making it difficult for the average person to locate.

Miller, with the Agricultural Research Service, developed ScaleNet with colleagues in Israel and Canada. When completed, it will allow the lay person to locate every single scale insect that Miller and other experts over the centuries have found and named--plus more important information.

Through keyword searches and other queries, ScaleNet site provides comprehensive information including the insects' biology, classification, naming history, distribution, plant hosts, economic importance, controls and scientific literature about them.

Miller describes ScaleNet as a treasure house of information generated by researchers worldwide on all scientific and common names of scale. These names are hot-linked with key words. Reference information includes journal titles, dates, annotations and authors.

Homeowners can use ScaleNet to hunt for names of the scale insects on their hibiscus. Farmers can use it to find out what scale insect is frolicking in the alfalfa.

Federal regulatory officials at U.S. ports of entry can log onto the site as well. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service officials will use it to get instant information on which scales occur on what U.S. crops and where they are known to occur. This information is vital to keeping unwanted foreign pests from sneaking into the U.S., where they have no natural enemies.

ARS is the principal research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientific contact: Douglass R. Miller, ARS Systematic Entomology Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-5895, fax (301) 786-9422,

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