Cottony Camellia Scale – Pulvinaria floccifera

Cottony Camellia Scale: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life

Latin name: Pulvinaria Floccifera

Appearances: Pulvinaria floccifera, or cottony camellia scales, are cream to tan in color, elongate oval in shape, and somewhat flat. Cottony Taxus scales are another name for this scale, which is a widespread yew pest. A dark stripe runs down the center of the young females’ bodies, with mottling on the sides. The older scales are dark brown in color. Female coverings are oval and yellow-tan with a brown border when mature. Crawlers are a light-yellow color. Female coverings mature to be oval, yellow-tan with a brown edge, and up to 18″ (3 mm) long., They create a cottony white ovisac (egg case) behind their covers that are approximately 14″ (6 mm) long. Males are either absent or hardly seen.

Host plants: This species uses dozens of species from over 37 plant groups as hosts. This isn’t a complete list. Camellia (Camellia), euonymus (Euonymus), holly (Ilex), yew (Taxus), and sweet-box (Sarcococca) are evergreen shrubs; hydrangea (Hydrangea) and beautyberry (Callicarpa) are deciduous flowering shrubs, and mulberry (Morus) and maple (Morus) are trees (Acer).

Territory: They are mostly found in Africa (Egypt), Asia (China, Iran, Japan), Europe (France, Germany) North America (United States), and Oceania (New Zealand).

Damage insect caused: Honeydew is produced by moderate to heavy infestations, which can attract other insects (mostly flies, wasps, and ants) and assist the establishment of sooty mold. Leaf yellowing and vigor loss might occur as a result of heavy or chronic infestations. Dieback is a rare occurrence. If the cottony camellia scales are in small quantities, the damage to plants may go undiscovered. Foliage that turns a pale green or yellow color could be a symptom of injury. Some leaves may develop black blotches where scale droppings cause sooty mold to appear.

Life cycle and habits: The scale spends the winter as nymphs on the leaves’ twigs. Adult females lay cottony egg masses measuring 0.25 inches long on the underside of leaves in the spring. The crawlers graze on the leaves along the veins when the eggs hatch. Every year, a new generation is born. The time it takes for crawlers to emerge is determined by temperature and can vary somewhat from year to year. From mid-June to mid-October is the best time to keep an eye out for them. As juveniles, they overwinter on the bark (for deciduous hosts) or leaves. When it’s time to lay eggs in the spring, females return to the greenery.