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Leaf Eating Pests
Camellias are hosts for a number of beetles, weevils, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and other insects that chew or consume plant tissue. The size, shape and location of the injury may help to determine the pest responsible.
At least two different types of leaf beetles are known to feed on and injure camellias. These beetles, Rhabdopterus deceptor and R. proetextrus, feed at night and hide in the mulch during the daytime. Their feeding results in curved elongated holes in the foliage. These Rhabdopterus beetles are oval in outline and rounded on top. They are about 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch wide and bronze black in color with a shining luster. Other similar leaf beetles are brown to tan in color.
There are four species of weevils known to injure camellias. These are Fuller's rose beetle, Pantomorus godmani; strawberry root weevil, Brachyrhinus ovatus; black vine weevil, B. sulcatus; and the cambium curculio, Conotrachelus anaglypticus. Fuller's rose beetle feeds on the edges of leaves at night, leaving irregular holes along the margin. The strawberry root weevil also feeds along the margin of the leaves as an adult. The larvae feed on the underground parts of the plant. It is common in the Pacific Northwest. The black vine weevil is sometimes a serious pest on camellias. It also feeds at night leaving irregular holes along the margin of the leaf. The larvae may feed upon camellia roots and girdle thetrunks of small plants just below ground level, killing them. The cambium curculio is only seen in camellias occasionally. The larvae feed on the cambium of young camellia shoots.
Caterpillars are the larvae of moths or butterflies. They may sometimes feed on the foliage or blossoms of camellia plants. Although there may be a number species that feed on camellias, this group is unimportant as a camellia pest. Grasshoppers are also relatively unimportant on camellias because feeding is accidental and intermittent. Control of these pests is through proper insecticidal sprays applied to the foliage.