Camellia sinensis is susceptible to a few insects that can cause slight to severe damage. The most common are Tea Scale, Aphids and Mites. The good news is that you don’t have to use harmful insecticides to control your pest problem, there are safe alternatives.
Oil sprays are great ways to control the most common insects on Camellia sinensis. They work through suffocation of the insects. The key is to get complete thorough coverage of the entire plant. Heavy infestations may require several repeat applications. Periodic use of oil sprays can work as a preventative for future problems.
Mineral Oil sprays and Neem Oil are the best choices when considering a oil spray.
Home Made Insecticidal Soap
Organic soap sprays are friendly to plants and also to people and animals and are earth friendly. They are effective with Aphids, scale, mites and most soft-bodied insects. They are also safe for beneficial insects such as bees!
Use one tablespoon of an organic environment friendly soap to one quart of water. Spray directly on the insects for control. Leave on for 20-30 minutes then rinse off. If insects still persist, you will need to reapply. Periodic soap sprays can help prevent future outbreaks of pests.
Home Made Pepper Spray
For Caterpillars and other leaf eating insects you can use a home
made pepper spray. This may also work on Aphids. Just remember to wash off very well when you start to harvest your tea, or you’ll end up with a different kind of hot tea!
2-3 tablespoons of red pepper flakes
1 quart of Boiling water
Add your pepper flakes to the boiling water and turn off and let sit until cool. Strain and put in a spray bottle to apply when you see chewing insects.
I have the best job in the world…I get to walk out of my back door and across the yard to a greenhouse and nursery full of Camellias and do what I love every day. Sometimes, when it’s very hot or very cold or when problems arise I do question my career path, but I always come back to the same place….I’m where I’m supposed to be!