Lacewings on Azaleas

Josh6286July 16, 2011

Hey, I'm new to the forums. I recently noticed the leaves on my azaleas turning white. My first instinct was to spray fungicide on them. After that didn't work, I did more research and confirmed that I indeed have lacewings. I just sprayed them about a half hour ago with insecticide.

So my question is: Will my azaleas repair themselves, or is the damage permanent until next year?

Thanks!

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Josh6286

Sorry for the double post, but I have LaceBUGS, not Lacewings! :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 11:07PM
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mainegrower(Z5b ME)

There's nothing to be done about the already damaged leaves. One of the worst aspect of lacebugs is that once you've noticed damage from their presence, it's generally too late.

Once lacebug population builds up, prevention has to begin before damage occurs. Your County Extension Service or State Agriculture Department can tell you when that is for your area. They can also recommend a suitable insecticide. I prefer a systemic root drench such as Bayer Advanced, but there are other possibilities.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 6:05AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Lace bug thrives in sunny locations on certain varieties of azaleas. You apparently have one of these varieties. If you move this plant to a shadier location and stop spraying, the problem will probably go away. There are other bugs that thrive in shadier locations such as spiders that will naturally control the lace bug. Spraying destroys the beneficial bugs as well as the lace bugs.

Azalea Lace Bugs, Stephanitis pyrioides: Adults are about 1/8-inch long. The body is pale yellow. The lacy wings (very distinctive) are held flat over the back and are transparent with two dark spots present. The nymphs are black, spiny and smaller than the adults. The eggs over-winter partially embedded in leaf tissue. The eggs hatch in May. The nymphs mature into adults in June and lay eggs during late June and July. The second generation of nymphs appears in August. The over-wintering eggs will be laid when these nymphs become adults. adults and nymphs feed on the undersides of leaves by piercing the leaves with their mouthparts and sucking the plant juices. This causes a mottled, silvery or white discoloration, known as stippling, on top of the leaf where the chlorophyll has been removed. The undersides of leaves are covered with dark brown to black, sticky spots of excrement. Plant azaleas in partial shade to maximize the activities of beneficial insects.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 9:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd like to emphasize what rhodyman has said...a heat or sun stressed azalea is more likely to be bothered by these ubiquitous pests. And there are a number of natural controls out there that will help you in your efforts, if you only let them.

'Softer' control measures include applications of horticultural oil in the late winter/early spring. Oils should be applied to the UNDERSIDE of the foliage where all of the lacebug activity goes on, including egg laying. I've found that horticultural oil is extremely helpful in smothering eggs and nymphs.

It pays to keep an eye on your azaleas. Check the undersides of the foliage from time to time for lacebug activity. You should be well familiar with it by now. Use your oils or even insecticidal soap applications BEFORE the damage becomes extreme.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:09PM
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