WSU Extension


Common Insects & Mites : Cottony camellia scale
(revision date: 4/14/2015)

The cottony camellia scale is a flat brownish or yellowish insect about 1/8" in diameter. The scales overwinter on twigs or evergreen leaves. In the spring, the adult females lay cottony egg masses on the underside of leaves. Crawlers (young scales) feed on the underside of leaves. Cottony camellia scales produce large amounts of honeydew, a sweet, sticky material which may attract ants or become covered with a heavy growth of dark sooty mold. Foliage with scale infestations may turn yellowish and appear stressed. Eventually, the plant may become weakened. Cottony camellia scales also infest camellia, yew (Taxus spp.), holly, and occasionally other ornamentals including hydrangea, English ivy, and maple.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which may kill natural enemies of scales.
  • Hand-pick scales when practical to control minor infestations.
  • Prune and destroy heavily infested leaves and branches when practical.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Scout for crawlers. Apply to control the immature crawler stage, usually in late spring to early summer. Make certain that the product you purchase is labeled for the target host and carefully read and follow label instructions.

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Caption: Cottony maple scales
Photo by: R.S. Byther
Caption: Cottony maple scales
Photo by: R.S. Byther