I have small white flaky bugs on all of my Ilex shrubs mostly on the leaves that are in the shade. Also, there is a black spotty residue under the leaves. I think it may be tea scale. Does that seem to be a logical guess?
If so, the only remedies I can find online are nasty pesticides. Any ideas for a more natural way to control this problem?
Tea scale (Fiorinia theae) can be a pest of Camellias and Hollies (Ilex) in some of the Southern states in the US. It does not survive in colder temperatures. Are the Ilex shrubs located in Massachusetts? If so it can not be tea scale.
Are the bugs located on the top suface of the leaves or just the bottom surface? Do they appear stationary or do they visibly move when disturbed?
The black spotty residue is probably a mold that often grows on the sticky waste material that many insects produce.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.