The top of the leaves became sticky and I soon noticed what appeared to be a small drop of dried blood up and down the branches (hundreds). Upon close examination, I revealed a fragile shell-like structure with a moist interior, later noting eggs inside and a moving developing bug. I scraped all these off and sprayed with a product on hand called 'Hot Shot'. I did happen to see one lady bug on the plant which escaped. The next day more of these droplets started forming. What is it, and how do I treat it? Plants are normally terrific bloomers and I hope to save them. They were in the house in a large container when this began. . . now out on the deck!
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
They are most likely aphids. The ladybugs like to eat them, so that was why you saw one. Here is an article to help you with that:
There is also a chance that it could be scale, which has similar symptoms and is treated the same. This article willhelp you with that:
Neem oil is effective in treating both insects. This article has more info on using neem oil: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/neem-oil-uses.htm