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Often called plant lice, these well known insects infest almost all types of plants. On camellias, they are com¬monly found in large numbers on the shoots of new growth. They injure plants by sucking their juices with long feeding tubes. Previously infested leaves may be curled or crinkled upon opening. Aphids also excrete honeydew which attracts ants and promotes the growth of sooty mold.
Aphids are softbodied, with long legs and antennae. The life cycle of aphids is often complicated. However, a single female may produce from 60 - 100 young before dying at an age of 20-30 days. The young may reach maturity in 6-7 days. Aphids are attacked by a number of natural enemies including ladybug beetles and small wasps. A heavy stream of water may be used to wash aphids off of young camellia foliage. Another environmentally friendly control method is to use the soap sprays. Insecticidal sprays may or may not be necessary for control of these insects. Aphids are generally a problem only during periods when new growth on camellias is soft and succulent.