Scale insect pests damage native trees and crops in Kenya, causing up to 91% crop losses, but awareness of the threats they pose is low because they are small and cryptic. Local entomologists cannot identify scales so pesticides are misused, killing natural enemies and causing more pest problems. Taxonomic training, and information packages for each community, will enable better pest management strategies. Building identification capacity throughout the decision chain will reduce improper practices and speed up responses to pest invasions. Kenyan livelihoods enhanced in >250 smallholdings; local agrobiodiversity improved by enhanced capacity to identify and manage scale insects at institutional, extension service and community levels, in smallholdings and native ecosystems.