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Is this a bug or fungus???

Posted by krea Louisiana (My Page) on
Mon, May 1, 06 at 9:51

My camellia has some strange looking stuff on the bottom leaves. The top leaves on the bush are fine, its just the ones on the bottom. Can ya'll perhaps give me an idea as to what it is and what I can do?
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Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is this a bug or fungus???

It looks like a scale infestation to me. Here is a quote from the American Camellia Website:

Control of Scale: Scale infestations are more difficult to control when populations are heavy. Homeowners should make spray applications when the first sign of scale is seen. Oil emulsion sprays will give effective control if applied properly. This is a contact insecticide. For it to be effective, the plants must be thoroughly covered. Oil emulsion sprays should be applied only during the spring and fall when the temperature is 40 - 85 F. Spraying in the heat of the day may result in burning the leaves. As a general rule, apply no more than three times per year with at least 60 days in between sprays. Oils are compatible with other insecticides.



Sorry, I left out one comment. When you notice a honeydew substance or sooty mold then you have an aphid infestation. Hard sprays with water can be used to kill aphids. (I did not notice these on your photos)

RE: Is this a bug or fungus???

Thank you luis! I am going to see if I can get some stuff to treat it with. Hmmmm....its already pretty hot here, so I may try to do it early in the morning before it gets too hot:) Thanks again!

RE: Is this a bug or fungus???

krea, you have the very typical camellia Tea Scale, and a bad infestation!! But horticultural oil sprays may be difficult in your area at this time of year. Daily temperature is not so much of an issue, as the oils remain on the foliage for several days. (Thus, spraying on a cool morning is moot.) However, there are SUPER FINE oils, or summer oils, that may be useful to you. When out shopping, become a good label reader. If a product should not be applied to foliage in your climate, there will be a warning about it.

Neem oil is becoming more and more talked about as a successful pest control agent. I would surely look into that.

By the way, the tops of the leaves are not fine! That mottled appearance on nearly all of the leaves is the sign that you have a very serious insect infestation. Not the 3rd image, that is something else. The tiny scale insects are taking all of the good stuff out of the camellia leaves, cell by cell! Even if we don't take notice of the growing insect population on the underside, that yellow mottled appearance is a big warning.

Tea scale is very difficult to get rid of, but with persistence you can do it. I'll wager that you will never entirely be rid of it, however.

Luis, by the way, there are many different kinds of insects that cause black sooty mold besides aphids. Tea scale, being one of the armoured scale, is not one of them. ooooEEEE, krea, you would be in a fine mess if THAT were the case!

RE: Is this a bug or fungus???

We just moved to Manning SC from Connecticut at the end of September. I have NO experience with camellias but there are several nice big bushes at the house we moved into. I was trying to identify the fuzzy stuff on the undersides of the leaves when I saw your postings, Krea! I wonder if you were able to successfully treat your Tea Scale? And if this is the time of year when I should try to attempt to treat mine? Any more info, Krea, or anybody? These are lovely big bushes, I don't want to lose them!!!!

RE: Is this a bug or fungus???

thea, you should become acquainted with the great Clemson Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC). You've got quite a bit of learning to do, all fun! ( I lived in SC for over 20 years.)

I've found that dormant applications (now) of horticultural oil can be helpful in slowing down the cycle of this very pesky scale insect. The most effective time to spray, however, is in the early spring. You will be able to kill some eggs by spraying now. Just read and follow label directions carefully, paying special attention to temperature warnings.

It is of the utmost importance that you direct your spray to the underside of the leaves, as that is where most of the scale activity is.

Also, you don't want to spray when the Camellias are in bloom or getting ready to bloom.

Good luck, and here's a link to the HGIC.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cllemson's HGIC

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