Camellia: Brown soft scale

categories: Camellia Camellia Insects Ornamentals Shrubs

revision date: 2024-06-05 02:04

Yellowish to dark brown soft scales on top and bottom of leaves against a black background.
Brown soft scales
Photo by: R.S. Byther


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

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • 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.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • 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.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.