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Arthropod Pests of Camellia

Stephen Bambara, Extension Entomologist

CAUTION: This information was developed for North Carolina and may not apply to other areas.

Tea Scale

- Yellow splotches on upper leaf surface
- Cottony masses of oblong and "keel-like" white male and brown female scales on leaf underside
- Infestation spreads slowly

- Overwinters as eggs beneath scale
- Crawlers appear March-May

*Hand pick leaves, if practical
*Hort oil or insecticidal soap on underside of leaf during crawler stage
2-3 applications, 7-10 days apart may be needed
*Mississippi study showed control with dinotefuran

tea scale on leaf

Peony Scale

- Uncommon, armored grayish-brown scale 2.5mm, long oystershell-like
- Somewhat burrows below bark
- Stems may die back
- One generation; crawlers present in May

* Horticultural oil during crawler stages with follow up at 14 days

peony scale on bark stem

Camellia Scale

- Uncommon outdoors; more in greenhouses
- Resembles an oyster more than does tea scale
- Only occurs on leaves, mostly underside
- Female dark brown; May be straight or curved
- May occur with tea scale

* Horticultural oil at crawler stage


Coconut Scale

- Yellow line splotches on upper leaf surface
- Found on upper and lower leaf surfaces
- Round, semi-transparent to brown in color
- Males more oval in shape
- 32-35 day life cycle
- Not common in NC

* Horticultural oil to underside of leaves
repeat treatment 14 days later

coconut scales on leaf

Cottony Camellia Scale

- Large, yellow to brown, with elongate cottony masses
- More frequent around leaf edges
- Crawlers in late spring to early summer
- May produce honeydew to support sooty mold

*Remove by hand in low numbers
*Hort oil directed at crawler stage

cottony camellia scale on leaf

Indian Wax Scale

- White, waxy, cap-shaped cover
- Circular to oval with reddish insect inside
- Found on stems
- Leaves may yellow and drop early
- Crawlers hatch spring
- Overwinter as eggs under scale cover

* Horticultural oil during crawler stage
repeat treatment 14 days later

Indian wax scale on stem

Purple Tea Mite
(Calacarus carinatus)

- Generally not common, purple overwintering phase
- Microscopic eriophyid mite, underside of leaf
- Active during cool season. Late Feb-early Mar. in Piedmont NC
- Leaf bronzing, edge curling, pointing down

*Hort oil or miticide in fall or spring with ten day follow-up to undersides of leaves

bronzed camellia leaf


- Generally not abundant
- Chewed notches in leaf margins
- Adults feed at night. Grubs live in soil.
- Several possible species (blackvine, cranberry root, two-banded Japanese, fuller rose ). Seek identification.

*Seek control measures after identification

twobanded Japanese weevils on stem

Alternative Plants-

No plant is perfect. To reduce overall pest problems, try diversity.  Check what works best in your area. Some broadleaf evergreen possibilities are ligustrum, abelia, rhododendron, wax myrtle (Myrica), magnolia.
Al Cooke has assembled a list of evergreen screening plants for Chatham County.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.

For assistance, contact your county North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service agent.

Other Resources

Prepared by: S. B. Bambara, Extension Entomologist. Photos © 2006 J.R. Baker and S.Bambara. Permission required. Camellia scale photo by Lyle Buss, used with permission and thanks to Greg Hodges, UF.
ENT/ort-138. March, 2006
Web page last reviewed January, 2011.