Azalea Lace bug

What is azalea lace bug?

The azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides, has become a destructive pest to azaleas in the eastern United States. This bug causes damage by sucking out the fluid of the leaves from their undersides. This feeding creates injury to foliage, including yellow to brownish speckling on the upper leaf surface. Severe injury may result in early leaf drop.

Treatment Strategy

Lace bugs are a relatively easy pest to control.  Historically, foliar sprays with Up Star® Gold were used once activity was visible. However, with the advent of soil-applied systemic insecticides like Optrol™ and Transtect, treatment has become even easier.

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Azalea Lace bug Treatment Option 1

Apply Optrol™ in late summer/early fall for control the following year.

Application TypeSoil drench

DIY Product/Equipment Needed: 

• Optrol™

• Measuring or diameter tape

• For soil drench: bucket, watering can, or soil drench kit

Azalea Lace bug Treatment Option 2

Apply Transtect™ in early spring for current season control.

Application type – Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment needed:

• Transtect

• Measuring tape or diameter tape

• Soil drench kit

• Watering can

Azalea Lace bug Treatment Option 3

Foliar sprays of Up Star Gold® should only be used for immediate action against the insect.

Application Type – Foliar spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Up-Star Gold

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Gloves

• Safety glasses

Azalea Lace bug DIY Kit

Option 1

Application Type – Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment Needed: 

Optrol™

• Measuring or diameter tape

• For soil drench: bucket, watering can, or soil drench kit

Option 2

Application type – Soil drench

DIY Product/Equipment needed:

• Transtect

• Measuring tape or diameter tape

• Soil drench kit

• Watering can

Option 3

Application Type – Foliar spray

DIY Product/Equipment Needed:

• Up-Star Gold

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Gloves

• Safety glasses

How Is It Spread?

In early spring, azalea lace bug nymphs hatch and begin feeding on the undersides of leaves.  After becoming adults and mating in mid-summer, females lay eggs on the undersides of leaves along the leaf veins where eggs overwinter before hatching the following spring.  Two or more generations of azalea lace bug occur each season.

Susceptible Trees

Azalea and rhododendron

Symptoms

  • Bleaching or discolored spots on the upper leaf surface.
  • Leaves may also dry up and fall off in severe infestations.
  • Adults are about 1/8 inch long with light brown legs and antennae.
  • Adult wings are transparent and lace-like with brown and black markings.
  • Nymphs turn from colorless to black and spiny and may be found on the undersides of leaves.
  • Dark, hard spots of excrement may be found on the undersides of leaves along leaf veins.

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