Camellia: Cottony camellia scale

categories: Camellia Camellia Insects Ornamentals Shrubs

revision date: 2024-06-05 02:04

Cottony camellia scale on holly leaves.
Cottony camellia scale on holly leaves
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli


The cottony camellia scale is a flat brownish or yellowish insect. The scales overwinter on twigs or evergreen leaves. In the spring, 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 is often covered with a growth of black sooty mold. Foliage with scale infestations may turn yellowish or pale in color. The cottony camellia scale is also found on yew and holly.

Management Options

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

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Remove any egg masses found on leaves.
  • Hand-pick scales when practical to control minor infections.
  • Where practical, prune out and destroy heavily infested leaves and branches.
  • Encourage natural predators of scales such as ladybird beetles and their larvae, and parasitic wasps. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill these insects

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.