Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Michele Guidone


Scale insects are common pests within greenhouse and agricultural settings. I quantified scale infestation on Begonia x Richmondensis, also known as the Dragon Wing begonia, within the Armstrong Campus Greenhouse from March to November of 2023. Six different treatments accounted for variations in sunlight, humidity, and temperature within the greenhouse with the goal of determining the insect’s preferred environmental conditions. Morphological comparisons were also made between host plant Dragon Wing begonia and other begonias present within the greenhouse. Analysis indicated a significant difference in scale presence on replicate plants by zone and sunlight treatments, with more plants hosting at least one scale insect in the back of the greenhouse within the light rather than shade. Additionally, significant differences were detected in monthly scale density from August to October, with higher densities in the light. Data by month showed there were consistent significant differences in scale abundance between the top and bottom leaf surfaces; scale was more abundant on the leaf bottoms. In comparing the Dragon Wing to other begonia species, the Dragon Wing begonia exhibited lower tissue strength and lower trichome abundance. These results indicate that though scale infestation occurs throughout the greenhouse setting, scale insects seem to prefer high light conditions, and may secondarily select for higher humidity and temperature conditions.