Azala Bugs

jeff94519(9)April 24, 2007

I have a lot of bugs on one of my azala bushes. They are a flying insect, looks like maybe a long skinny beetle with black or dark brown long wings on its back and a burnt orange upper body. Overall about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and they are attracted to the light also.

What do I have aznd wha t do I use to get rid of these ugly things.

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May I add a question. I've only one azalea that has leafed out, and I 've found several caterpillars that have disfigured the leaves. They are less than 3/4 inch long, black, hairy, with a bit of white coloration. Any ideas? It seems I could control by hand picking, unless someone advises differently. Thanks

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 12:19AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Hello, Jeff94519. You probably have an azalea lace bug infestation. They feed of leaf juices and hide in the underside of the leaves. After a while, the top of the get a mottled or frosted look. The has wings while the nymph is smaller and black. The underside of leaves is usually full of sticky brown/black excrement.

To combat this infestation, you can use beneficial insects (like ladybugs and praying manthis), chemical insecticides like Orthene (apply under the leaves per label directions; repeat every 10 days until no more lace bugs are evident) or use a systemic insecticide/fertilizer (Ferti-lome has one but should be used before the problem starts for best results).


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 12:53AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

Idabean, you are probably having an infestation of the . It is usually hairy, as you said, with either white or yellow lines. The legs and head are brown. If you touch them, they usually raise their ends (head and tail).

If the infestation is small, just pick them up and throw them away in a garbage bag. If not, you can treat this infestation with a spray of Bacillus thuringiensis, also called Bt for short. It is available in most organic minded nurseries as well as some local nurseries & cattle feed stores (I have never seen it at HD/Lowes here in Texas though). You can also spray with a chemical insecticide like Orthene or Bayer Advanced Garden Multi-Insect Killer.

Just wondering.... Where are you located? It is kind of early to be hearing about this pest though. Can you click on the link above to see if your caterpillars look like the Azalea Caterpillar?


    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 1:19AM
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Thank you Luis. I live in Massachusetts, zone 5. I was surprised to see any leaf eating livestock this early in the season. I did not clean up this area of the garden last fall. Do these critters overwinter?
The leaves themselves are not completely eaten, but appear skeletonized, in contrast say, to the black vine weevil damage on bigger rhodies. I'll have to look at the caterpillars with a magnifier; I was not inclined to take a really good look before.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:16PM
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