Pest: Stephanitis pyroides
Host: Very common on azaleas in the southeast. Worst infestations tend to occur in sunny areas.
Pest Description & Cycle: (see photo 1 below) Adults are 1/8 inch long. The transparent wings are held flat on the back. Their wings are lacy with two grayish-brown cross-bands connected in the middle. Nymphs are mostly black and spiny. The flask-shaped eggs are partially embedded in leaf tissue and often are covered with a black tar-like secretion.There are four generations a year. Eggs overwinter in leaf tissue. Lace bug adults and nymphs live and feed on the underside of leaves.
1. Azalea-lace bug 2. Azalea lace bug symptoms
Symptoms and Signs: (see photo 2 above) The mottled foliage is accompanied by brown excretions on leaf undersides. The brown residue will enable one to differentiate lacebug damage from mite damage when the insects are not seen on the tissue.Look for the first signs of damage on plants in full sun or in protected areas beginning in March and continuing throughout the summer. Look for white stippling on older leaves. Turn stippled leaves over to find lace bug stages and black fecal spots. Examine lace bug eggs with a hand lens for signs of parasitism (a round hole in the top of the egg) and look for predators. For more information on lace bugs go to the Home and Garden Information website or call 1-888-656-9988. The website is http://hgic.clemson.edu
Management: Time insecticide applications for the presence of the first generation nymphs. The Georgia Pest Management Handbook lists acephate (Orthene TTO) at 1 tsp./gal Apply in early spring when nymphs of first generation are present. Also - imidacloprid 1.47% (Bayer Advanced) Apply as per label directions.