WSU Extension


Camellia : Brown soft scale
(revision date: 3/22/2021)

Brown soft scales are yellowish to dark brown insects (adults are usually darker). They are found mainly on twigs, although young scales may also be found on the foliage, typically on the underside of leaves. Soft scales produce large amounts of honeydew, a sweet, sticky material which may become covered with a growth of dark sooty mold. Heavy scale infestations can cause plants to become yellowish and wilted in appearance.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Ladybird beetles and parasitic wasps help control scale populations.
  • Minor infestations may be wiped off by hand.
  • If practical, prune and destroy heavily infested branches.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Scout for crawlers. Insecticide applications can be effective when applied to control the immature crawlers stage, usually in late spring to early summer. Oils are effective in the delayed dormant period. Use oil sprays only on overwintering nymphs. Test for sensitivity on camellia before applying insecticidal soaps.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil Conc [Organic]
    Active ingredient: oil/pet distillate  |  EPA reg no: 4-80
  • Hi-Yield Dormant Spray
    Active ingredient: oil/pet distillate  |  EPA reg no: 7401-428
  • R-T-U Year-Round Spray Oil
    Active ingredient: oil/pet distillate  |  EPA reg no: 6218-78
  • Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap Conc II [Organic]
    Active ingredient: potassium salts of fatty acid  |  EPA reg no: 42697-60
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Brown soft scales
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli