Lots of hairy caterpillars can be found feeding openly on foliage of nursery and landscape ornamentals this time of year, like Hickory tussock Moth (Lophocampa caryae, Family: Erebidae) and the very common Virginian tiger moth (Spilosoma virginica, Family: Erebidae, Subfamily Arctiinae). Try to avoid the Hickory Tussock moth larvae if you can, the hairs can cause itchy skin rashes on some people.
Magnolia scale females have given birth to live young, and these tiny, dark crawlers have started to venture out to feed on twigs. In the landscape, insecticide applications (e.g. insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or traditional insecticides) can be used if you are trying to manage the crawler stage of this pest.
Pick off scales to reveal dark grey crawlers (eggs with legs) underneath. Many crawlers will hide underneath the female scales for days before they venture out, meaning they are protected from insecticide applications in the first couple of weeks.
The crawlers will gradually emerge out from under the dead female mothers. Contact insecticides (traditional insecticides, insecticidal soap, horticultural oil) can be used to manage crawlers once they emerge and start feeding on twigs (mid-late August).
If you miss the Magnolia scale crawlers, don’t worry. They overwinter as tiny, dark grey nymphs on the undersides of twigs. It is advisable to go in with a fall horticultural oil sprays (with emphasis on contacting undersides of twigs) to significantly reduce the population in late October. Many horticulturalists say that fall dormant oil applications are the best way to manage this pest issue.