Lacebugs

Order/Family: Hemiptera/Tingidae

Description:

  • Adults are 1/8-inch long.
  • There is a transparent lace-like hood covering the head.
  • The transparent lace-like wings are held flat over the back.
  • Azalea lace bug – two light brown bands on the wings
  • Sycamore lace bug – two black spots on the wings
  • Rhododendron lace bug – two black spots on the wings and a pale yellow body
  • The nymphs are smaller than the adults; they have spines on their bodies; and slightly differ in color.
  • Eggs are flask-shaped with the neck to one side.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • Females insert their eggs directly into the plant tissue along a large vein on the underside of the leaf.
  • The azalea and rhododendron lace bugs overwinter in the egg stage; hawthorn and sycamore lace bugs overwinter in protected areas as adults.
  • Eggs hatch during April or early May (two months earlier in southern states) and the nymphs molt several times over a period of 4 – 6 weeks.
  • Typically there are at least two generations per year.

 

Plants Attacked:

  • Azalea lace bug: azalea
  • Sycamore lace bug: sycamore, ash, hickory, and mulberry
  • Rhododendron lace bug: rhododendron, mountain laurel, azalea, and andromeda
  • Hawthorn lace bug: cotoneaster, hawthorn, quince, and pyracantha

 

Damage:

  • Lace bugs injure and destroy plants by feeding on plant juices on the underside of leaves using their piercing and sucking mouthparts.
  • Damaged leaves have numerous small white spots on the top. Severely damaged leaves typically turn yellow or bronze.
  • The undersurface of the leaves may be covered with black fecal specks, cast skins, and hatched eggs.