Atlantic Gardening, Greenhouse — Plant Nursery — Camellia — Pests — Diseases and how to cure them

Camellia — Pests & Diseases and how to cure them

Camellias are an easy plant to grow in our regions, but like all plants there are certain pests & diseases they are prone to. Read below to learn more about how to diagnose camellia problems, and how to solve them.


Dieback and Canker

This disease is caused by the fungus Glomerella cingulate and is one of the most serious diseases of camellia in the Southeast. Camellia sasanqua is affected more commonly than Camellia japonica. It thrives in warm weather with high humidity. The first symptoms you’ll see are leaves turning yellow and dropping. Branch stems die, and you may find gray splotches on stems and bark. Eventually sunken areas, called cankers, will form on stems.

Preventative measures are the best way to control this disease. Spray with a fungicide, such as Bonide Copper Fungicide, in spring. This will prevent the disease from spreading but will not cure an infected plant. Prune already infected branches several inches below the canker, disinfecting your pruners between each cut. Throw away diseased leaves and branches and rake up any that have fallen on the ground. Do not put in your compost.

Flower Blight

As the name suggests, this disease only affects the flowers of a plant, not the leaves or branches. In early spring when the climate is moist, the fungus Ciborinia camelliae causes small brown spots to form on flowers. These spots spread to the center of the flower, eventually covering the whole flower. Soon after, flowers drop. Identification of this disease can be difficult because flower browning can also be caused by sun scorch or freezing temperatures. However, in these cases the flower will typically completely turn brown at once instead of over time.

To control, destroy all infected flowers. Don’t put them in your compost. Since the fungus lives in the soil, remove debris and mulch from under the plant and replace with clean mulch. This is an airborne fungus that can travel up to a mile, so it helps if everyone in the community participates in this. Another option to avoid infection is to choose sasanqua varieties of camellia. Since they bloom earlier than japonicas, they are not affected by the springtime fungus. Finally, if chemical controls are necessary, use a soil drench every two weeks between December and January, such as Bonide Captan Fruit and Ornamental.

Root Rot

The most common root rot that affects camellias is caused by the fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi. Symptoms of the disease are entire leaves yellowing, and in severe cases, the wilting of the entire plant. Identification of root rot can also be seen in the roots, which turn red-brown (instead of white) when infected.

There is no cure for a plant infected with root rot, but preventative measures can be taken. Always plant camellias with good drainage, as the fungus thrives in heavy, badly-drained soils. Use fungicides as a preventative, or consider planting sasanquas, which are resistant to this root rot, over the more susceptible japonicas.

Leaf Gall

Leaf Gall is most commonly found on sasanqua camellias. During new growth in spring, the fungus Exobasidium camelliae infects new shoots and leaves, which become enlarged and fleshy. These leaves have the appearance of a succulent. Color in the infected leaves fades from light green to a pink, almost white. Eventually, these leaves will rupture, exposing white spores on the underside of leaves, allowing the fungus to spread further the following spring.

To prevent spreading of the disease, it is important to remove infected leaves before the spores are released. Also remove fallen leaves and dispose of in the trash. The fungus thrives in moist environments, so avoid getting leaves wet when watering. The fungus does not typically spread to other camellias in the garden, nor are plants severely damaged from the disease.

Camellia yellow mottle virus

This virus appears as irregular yellow splotches and patterns on leaves. If flowers are infected, they may show white blotches on the petals. The virus does not cause any lasting damage to plant beyond discoloration, and some growers actually propagate plants with the virus to create variegation in the leaves and flowers. There is no cure for the virus. It spreads predominately from propagation of diseased plants.

Algal Leaf Spot

Algal Leaf Spot thrives in wet weather during the summer. The alga, Cephaleuros virescens causes gray-green to green-brown spots, which are slightly raised from the surface, on leaves. If the infection is severe, entire leaves may turn yellow and drop.

To control, remove infected leaves and branches from the plant and around its base and discard. If the plant is growing close amongst other plants, improving air circulation by pruning back around it, may help as well. Apply Bonide Copper Fungicide every two weeks while wet conditions continue.



Aphids typically infect camellias on areas of new growth, which they damage by sucking out the insides of the foliage. A secondary effect of aphids is caused by the secretions the pests produce. These attract ants and create the perfect environment for the growth of sooty mold. Aphids may be controlled by using a hose to spraying aphids off the infected foliage, or with insecticidal soaps. Sooty mold, however must be treated with an insecticide and then wiped off.

Spider Mites

Spider Mites are a common, but serious pest of many ornamental plants, including camellia. When infected, leaves appear speckled with a silver or bronze cast. Mites are typically most active during spring and fall when the weather is cool. Some control may be had by spraying the plant with water, but usually chemical controls will be more effective. To prevent damage for the upcoming year, apply a miticide three times in spring, at 7-day intervals.


Scales can cause serious damage to a camellia if not treated. These small insects pierce leaves (and occasionally stems) and suck out the sap. When young, scales are called “crawlers,” but adults are legless. Crawlers find a spot on the leaf, where they pierce the foliage. They then drop off their legs and remain in the same spot for the remainder of their lives. Many will form a hard shell, or “scale” protection over themselves, which makes treating these insects difficult. Systemic insecticides are more efficient for this reason. Natural forms of control include scraping the scale from the leaves or picking infected leaves off the plant and discarding them in the trash. If the infestation is more severe, spray the plant with horticultural oil in spring, when crawlers are active, to maximize efficiency. Repeat this regimen a second time, ten days later.

How to Kill Beetle Bugs

About the Author:

Victoria Lee Blackstone

Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper articles. After studying botany and microbiology at Clemson University, Blackstone was hired as a University of Georgia Master Gardener Coordinator. She is also a former mortgage acquisition specialist for Freddie Mac in Atlanta, GA.

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Beetle bugs go through different life stages as they metamorphose into adults. Although many beetles help protect your plants by eating insect predators, some beetles eat the plants. All plant parts are susceptible to beetle damage, such as the flowers, leaves and fruits. Beetles may attack ornamental plants and edible plants with equal ferocity. The key to controlling them is to use appropriate products that are formulated for different plant types.

How To Get Rid Of Powderpost Beetles

By DoMyOwn staff

There are several things that can be done to get rid of and control Powderpost Beetles, starting with prevention. These methods will also be effective in controlling other species of wood-boring beetles.

  1. Prevention — Many Powderpost Beetle infestations actually begin inside the wood before you bring it into your home. Likewise, there are certain conditions of wood that make it more susceptible to infestation. The following tips will help you reduce the possibility of building infestations into your furniture or home.

    Always inspect wood prior to purchase. Do not purchase wood with damaged surfaces or with present exit holes.

Powderpost beetles require at least 20% moisture to thrive, so use only wood that has been dried as much as possible. If you are purchasing wood, ask if it has been kiln- or air-dried. In the case of backyard lumber, central heating and good ventilation will greatly help to reduce moisture

Powderpost beetles most often attack bare, unfinished wood. Use wood that has been sanded and varnished. Finished wood is not likely to be attacked by Powderpost beetles because the adults will not be able to find crevices in the surface to deposit their eggs.

Use wood that has been pre-treated with pesticides and/or wood preservatives.

Surface Treatments- Active infestations present in bare, exposed wood should be treated with a pesticide containing «borate», such as BoraCare or Timbor. Borate-containing products will pentrate and get rid of Powderpost beetles inside the wood as well as those entering or exiting the surface of the wood. BoraCare and Timbor also attack the larvae inside the wood, preventing them from causing further surface damage in the future when they would have emerged as adults.

    To get rid of Powderpost beetles with BoraCare, Timbor, or other borate-containing products, first mix the product according to the label, and then spray or brush the product directly onto the wood surface, creating a poisonous barrier.

Surface treatment pesticides may be applied to any bare wood surface including sills, rafters, subflooring, studs, decking and siding to get rid of Powderpost beeltes. Finished wood surfaces must first be sanded down for the pesticide treatment to be effective.

It may not be possible to surface treat some less-accessible areas of infestation, such as those which have spread to walls or floors. Such areas may be candidates for more drastic treatment measures, like fumigation.

Fumigation- Fumigation is a method of pest control that uses gaseous pesticides to fill a confined space in order to suffocate or poison all pests within that area. When all other methods of prevention and control have proved unsuccessful,fumigation might be the only way for you to get rid of Powderpost beetles that have spread into walls and floors. This option is rather expensive and should only be used as a last resort.

    Fumigation must be performed by a certified pest control professional.

  • Fumigation is non-residual. Therefore, while this option may get rid of present Powderpost beetle infestations, it is a not an effective means of preventing future infestations.
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    Different Types of Beetles & How to Identify Them

    What are the Different Types of Beetles?

    What do mysterious pinholes in wood flooring, furniture, or trim; damaged carpets and fabric; and discolored or foul smelling flour have in common? These can all be signs of a beetle infestation.

    Beetles are a slightly less common household pest, but when they are present in your home, they can cause significant damage. Find out about the different types of beetles and how to identify them so you can catch a problem before it gets out of control.

    Beetle Types

    While there are thousands of different beetle types, only a few are likely to cause trouble inside your home:

    • Wood-boring beetles – These pests can be found throughout the United States. Wood-boring beetles are noteworthy because of the damage they cause to furniture, structural and decorative wood in and around homes and other buildings.
      • Deathwatch beetle.
      • False powderpost beetle.
      • Powderpost beetle.
    • Pantry beetles – These pests are cause for concern because of the damage they cause to stored products and packaged food. They are distributed throughout the United States and are most commonly encountered in warehouses, grocery stores, and home pantries.
      • Drugstore and cigarette beetle.
      • Warehouse beetle.
      • Sawtoothed grain beetle and merchant grain beetle.
      • Confused flour beetle and red grain flour beetle.
    • Carpet beetles – These pests can be found throughout the United States and are noted for the damage they cause to fabrics and upholstered furniture.
      • Varied carpet beetle.
      • Furniture carpet beetle.
      • Black carpet beetle.
    • Stink beetles – Unlike the brown marmorated stink bug which is found east of the Mississippi River, stink beetles are typically found in the western United States. They are ‘occasional invaders,’ infrequently wandering into homes and buildings during the summer months. Stink beetles are nuisance pests, but do not pose a threat to people or pets.

    Beetle Identification

    Beetles are generally identified by their hardened, shell-like bodies which appear to have a line running down their backs. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Despite its appearance, a beetle does not, in fact, have a shell. Two hardened wings create the appearance of a shell, and cause a line running down the beetle’s back where the wings meet. Determining how to identify a beetle might seem difficult because you may see the damage they are causing before you see the insects themselves.

    • Wood-boring beetles leave behind frass, or the waste they pass, which may look similar to sawdust. They also leave small, round or oval shaped exit holes where they emerge from wood.
    • Pantry beetles can cause flour to become discolored, and smell funny. They may also be seen in flour, and have a small tubular appearance.
    • Carpet beetles prefer dark, undisturbed places such as the seams of furniture, or underneath rugs and carpets — this makes it very difficult to spot the beetle, or the damage it is causing.
    • Stink beetles leave an offensive odor on items they come into contact with that may last for weeks.

    Natural Pest Control and Beetle Prevention

    The best way to get rid of beetles is to prevent an infestation before it begins. Knowing the signs of a beetle infestation and what they are attracted to will make it easier to prevent the problem.

    Some tips include:

    1. Carefully inspecting new items and their packaging for pests before bringing anything into your home.
    2. Storing dry goods and pantry items in airtight containers.
    3. Periodic cleaning and inspection of upholstered furniture.
    4. Regular home maintenance to seal potential pest entry points.

    For extra protection against beetles and other household pests, a natural repellent like Stay Away ® can be used to create an invisible barrier that beetles and bugs will not cross. The scent of essential oils in Stay Away obscures any appealing aromas of food or scent trails insects may follow into your home without the use of harmful chemicals.

    How to Get Rid of June Bugs

    June is a beautiful month for garden enthusiasts, but it’s also a horrible time for pests, with a selection of bugs appearing throughout the month that can drive you absolutely bonkers. Of these, the most notorious are cicadas and June bugs, which are often confused.

    Like a plague of locusts, June bugs sweep in, do massive damage, and then vanish again. Before understanding how to get rid of June bugs, you should know how to spot them and proactively reduce the risk of a visit during the spring growth season. This can be vital to protecting both your crops and your sanity.

    Want to Let the Pros Handle It? Get a free quote from top pest control companies in your area.

    Table of Contents

    Getting to Know June Bugs

    June bugs are one of those pests that come and go fast, but wreak absolute havoc in the meantime. The terms June bug and June beetle (or May beetle) don’t refer to a single species, but are rather a nickname given to a wide range of June invaders, including:

    • European Chafer Beetle
    • Figeater beetle
    • Green June Beetle
    • Japanese beetle (infamously the only diurnal “June bug”)
    • Phyllophaga (a group of 260 species, some of which are also known as May bugs)
    • Ten-lined June beetle

    All of these bugs share characteristics, and a particularly unlucky homeowner may encounter several species at once. The good news is that their similarities make for plenty of universal solutions to an infestation.

    What Does a June Bug Look Like?

    June bugs are members of the Scarabaeidae family and are thus all species of scarab beetle. Once considered a symbol of rebirth and still treasured for their beauty, these beetles are plump, poor fliers, and range in size up to about two inches.

    Their bodies vary greatly in color, from a dull caramel to striped patterns, to brilliant metallic green.

    Do June Bugs Fly?

    To say a June bug flies is about as accurate as saying a bumble bee is aerodynamic. June beetles have difficulty navigating and are poorly-suited for flight, thus an airborne beetle will circle lazily about and often bump into things.

    When possible, they prefer being grounded by a good source of food or light to hide their clumsiness in the air.

    What do June Bugs Eat?

    June bug larvae will devour roots, killing your lawn and garden from below ground. Adults prefer vegetation and will usually aim for leaves and vegetation.

    Japanese beetles are the most dangerous for a garden, as they will also devour crops such as maize and strawberries or even eat the petals right off of your prized rosebush.

    Do June Bugs Bite?

    While a threat to your garden, June bugs are perfectly harmless to humans and can be very timid. Their legs have spines, however, and the slight prickly feel when one lands on you has sometimes been mistaken for a bite.

    What Attracts June Bugs?

    Obviously, June beetles have an interest in the flora, but one of the biggest attractants is actually light. They’ll swarm around porch or garden lights during the night, often snacking on anything nearby.

    June Bugs vs Cicadas

    Cicadas are sometimes lumped into the same category as June bugs but are something very different. They’re unrelated to beetles, have transparent wings, and are decent fliers. Cicadas are also far less destructive and tend to sing at night.

    June bug grubs also have that typical cylindrical shape seen throughout much of the insect world and are often curled up when uncovered. Cicada nymphs look much different, with an elongated abdomen and legs. This makes them appear more like an insect than a grub when encountered.

    How to Get Rid of June Bugs

    An active June bug infestation can be extremely difficult to get rid of. The grubs do massive amounts of unseen damage while adults will devour your roses and other cherished plants. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to kill June bugs in every stage of growth.

    Normally, we warn against killing insects, but June beetles are so easy to kill without harming beneficial species that we feel safe suggesting several methods. As always, please be sure to check whether the species you’re dealing with is protected before attempting to exterminate them.

    Want to Let the Pros Handle It? Get a free quote from top pest control companies in your area.

    June Bugs on Plants

    Due to their slow speed and difficulty in flying, you can easily pluck a June bug right off of the plant. Be ready for a little prickly feeling if you come into contact with their legs, but they are otherwise harmless.

    You can then simply drop them into a bucket of soapy water to kill them. Alternatively, you may wish to drop them into a smaller container and suffocate them using acetone fumes. You can then pin and collect them much as you would a butterfly collection.

    June Bugs on Walls and Windows

    Again, the slow speed of a June beetle makes them easy prey. Their smaller size also means you can make quick work of them with a Bug-A-Salt gun. An old-fashioned fly swatter will also get the job done but minus the fun.

    Easy Beetle Traps

    You can easily make a DIY June bug trap to kill these pests using a bit of molasses. Simply add 1/2 cup each of molasses and hot water to a large jug.

    Close and shake well, then bury the container neck-deep near any plant the bugs have been snacking on. Be sure to remove any dead beetles from the trap rack each morning and refill the trap as needed.

    Many variations of beetle traps can also be purchased. The Bag-A-Bug by Spectracide is probably the most popular.

    Natural Beetle Insecticide

    This home remedy is easy to make and can prove deadly to June bugs. Begin by mincing four cloves of garlic and marinating it overnight in a tablespoon of mineral oil. Strain out the chunks and pour the oil into a pint of water along with a teaspoon of dish soap.

    You can then use two tablespoons of this concentrate per pint of water in a spray bottle to protect damaged leaves or attack the bugs directly.

    Natural Predators

    There are a number of critters that prey on both adult and larval June bugs. These include frogs, snakes, and bug-eating birds such as robins, sparrows, and even hawks. Attracting any of these into your yard will eliminate a large portion of the adult beetles naturally.

    Commercial Options

    On a smaller scale, nematodes (a beneficial microscopic worm) and Bacillus Thuringiensis (aka BT, a bacterium that infects bugs) can both be found at garden centers and online. Both of these tiny critters target grubs before they have a chance to devour your roots.

    Thuricide, a commercial insecticide by Bionide, uses BT as the active ingredient, while St. Gabriel Organics produces a granular form of milky spore, a parasite which targets Japanese beetle grubs and can help protect your lawn for up to 20 years.

    Food for Thought

    The natural attraction of June bugs to light make them easy prey for a bug zapper (we like this one), and many species are small enough you can use your Bug-A-Salt to have a bit of fun getting rid of them.

    But the best fun of killing a June beetle using non-toxic methods (such as a zapper) is that they make for excellent reptile and amphibian food (as well as your carnivorous plants).

    How to Keep June Bugs Away From Your House

    June bugs are attracted to two major things: plants and light. Ensuring there are no shrubs too close to the house can deter a large number of pests. Make sure to temporarily remove any potted plants on your porch during an infestation to deter them.

    Also, turn off your outside lights at night when not needed. Setting traps with a little LED light on them is a great way to get rid of June bugs at night when you have the main lights off.

    Want to Let the Pros Handle It? Get a free quote from top pest control companies in your area.

    Unlike many other bugs we cover, there’s no specific June bug repellent out there. You can use any beetle repellent effectively, and most homemade general bug repellents may also work.

    Thankfully, adult June beetles don’t live for very long, so it’s often more about preventing them from breeding in your yard than it is to stop them from munching on your prize roses. Remember, grubs do more harm than the adults, so prevention is the best defense.

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