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Azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides , It occurs in most of the eastern United States including New York, connecticut.
Azalea Lace Bug
Azalea Lace Bug is 1/8 inch long and 1/16 inch wide. It has lacy wings with brown and black markings and light brown legs and antennae. The young nymph lace bug is nearly colorless at hatching but soon turns black and spiny. It sheds its outer skin six times and ranges in size from 0.4 mm to 1.8 mm before becoming an adult.
The white oval or flask shaped egg is 0.36 to 0.43 mm long and 0.16 to 0.23 mm wide with a bent â€˜neckâ€™ to one side . Eggs are usually laid along the midrib or leaf margins of young leaves and covered with a dark brownish adhesive material that hardens to form a protective coating. The nymph is colorless upon hatching but soon turns black and spiny. It goes through five instars, ranging in size from 0.1 mm to 1.8 mm . Wing pads can be seen after the fourth molt.
Azalea lace bug has become a destructive pest of azaleas. Although this bug prefers evergreen azalea varieties, it will infest deciduous varieties. Mountain laurel can also become infested.
Azalea Lace Bug Damage
Life Cycle: Azalea Lace Bug that feed on broad-leaved evergreens overwinter in the egg stage. The overwintering eggs that are inserted into the midrib of broad-leaved evergreens the previous fall will hatch from late April through May. Nymphs feed on the lower leaf surface. The complete life cycle, from egg to adult, may be completed in thirty days under optimal conditions. Two to three generations are produced each year in Pennsylvania. The exact number of generations depends on the length of the growing season. Azalea Lace Bug can be found in all stages of development on broad-leaved evergreens until August or September.
Damage: Lace bugs damage plants by inserting their piercing-sucking mouthparts into the underside of leaves and withdrawing chlorophyll and other plant fluids. The upper surface of lightly-infested leaves has a white-dotted, or stippled appearance . Heavy infestations cause leaves to brown and drop prematurely, which reduces growth or kills the plant. Examine your plants weekly during the spring, summer, and fall.
Turn a few leaves over and look for lace bugs with a 10 to 15 power hand lens or shake an infested branch over a white sheet of paper. The insects will fall off and may be more easily seen than on the foliage. The brown spots and stippling may remain on leaves even after lace bugs have been reduced.
Control : : Azaleas should be planted in partial shade. Plants in full sun usually suffer the earliest and most severe damage, and beneficial insects are usually unable to control these bugs in sunny situations.
Azalea Lace Bug
Encouraging natural enemies is important. Green lacewings, predatory mites, and assassin bugs all attack lace bugs and will generally keep lace bug population in check in the shade. However, these predators often arrive after considerable damage has occurred. In order to conserve natural enemies, use insecticidal soaps or oils instead of conventional insecticides.
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