Azalea Lacebugs

It’s mid-May and you are noticing that your azaleas appear to have yellow spots on the leaves. What is causing this?

Upon further investigation you notice a small Lacey winged insect on the plant, and some even land on you. What is this insect and is it causing the yellow spots on the azalea leaves?

The pest is the azalea lacebug, and it is causing the yellowing on the leaves. The adult lacebug is only about 1/8 inch long. It has transparent wings held flat on its back. They feed mostly in the underside of the leaves. The nymphs or juveniles are mostly black and spiny might be seen moving around or feeding there too. Eggs may be there too, inserted into the leaf tissue. There may be four or more generations per year. This year, there maybe more.

This imported pest prefers evergreen azaleas preferably in full sun. They suck the chlorophyll (green color) from the leaf tissue.   They cause yellow to whit stippling of the leaves. Stippling is small pin point punctures to the leaves. Both adults and nymphs deposit black fecal spots that stick to the bottom surface of the leaves. In heavy infestations, plants in full sun may be killed.

How and when should I look for this pest? Look for first signs of damage on azaleas in full sun. Beginning in mid-April and throughout the summer. Look for the yellow to white stippling that begins in older leaves.  Look on the bottom leaf surface to find the different lacebug stages and black fecal spots.

How do I get rid or control the lacebugs? If you are not a current Premium Tree and Shrub client at Virginia Green Lawn Care, you need to call for a Premium Tree and Shrub estimate. If you are already a client, we will be out to treat them throughout mid-spring and summer. Call today for a free estimate, and we will help you eliminate this pesky pest.