Will pirate bugs control lace bugs?

kelgalon(9)August 24, 2010

I have had quite a bit of leaf damage on my zinnias, bird house gourd, and some on my yard long beans. Took a sample of the leaf and the fast moving black bug about the size of a pin head (that I saw all on those plants) to the nursery today and they said the leaf damage was from lace bugs but didnÂt know what they bug I brought was. I think they are pirate bugs. At least from the pictures IÂve seen. I would post a picture but all you would see is a black dot which is not very helpful. I am wondering if the pirate bugs would control the lace bugs or should I continue spraying with Spinosad as well? In the meantime I am on the hunt for a magnifying glass.

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

The comment of "zinnias, bird house gourd, and some on my yard long beans." is quite interesting. I wasn't aware that lace bugs damaged those plants.

Any chance of posting images?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 6:41PM
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I have heard nursery employees tell people that the damage to a leaf, the leaf looked like a bit of lace, was from a lace bug and while lace bugs can be common they do not munch on all plants, so more than likely the information you received was erroneous.
The Minute Pirate Bug is a voracious predator and they will eat lace bugs, or the insect that is making lace of your plants leaves. However Spinosad might be poisonous to them so due care in application is necessary when you do use that.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 1:00PM
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Hmmm, well when it gets a bit cooler outside I'll go take some pictures and see what you all think. I might take another sample to my tried and true nursery. The one I went by yesterday is close to my work and while they seem to have quality products I'm not sure about how knowledgeable all of their employees are.

The damage doesn't really look like lace. There aren't a bunch of holes in the leaves. The leaves have that white speckled color similar to mite damage but there are also little black dots...I know, need pictures. The plants are stressed, everything is stressed. It's just toooooo hot. We're supposed to get a break this weekend, high of only 90.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 1:15PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

kelgalon, the damage incurred by lace bugs is very identifiable. That's why we'd like to see pictures of the damage.

Lace bugs also tend to be very species specific as to what plants they will feed on. In other words, if you have lace bugs on your azaleas, sycamore, and lantana (for example), they will ALL be a different species of lace bugs. A lantana lace bug isn't likely to be found on a sycamore.

So you see why we want to see some pictures of the damage....it might not be lace bugs, at all.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 1:20PM
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I was not arguing about the pictures. Just wasnÂt going to go out and get them when itÂs 105 outside. I did go to the other nursery and took a sample and they also said it was lace bugs. IÂm having a serious outbreak of everything right now. Aphids, whiteflies, and whatever this is. The city just started spraying malathion for mosquitoes and I think that is the reason for the outbreak. I only use organic products in the garden. IÂm going to start treating with insecticidal soap and get some lady bugs this weekend. Let me know what you think of the pics. ItÂs amazing what shows up in a picture that canÂt be seen by the naked eye!


    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 1:34PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Looks like your "fast moving black bug" may be a flea beetle.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 4:53PM
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That crossed my mind at one point too. Thanks, will check how the soap controls them as well.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 5:06PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

None of your plants have damage from lace bugs.

Image http://flic.kr/p/8vAY5E looks like spider mite damage. If they're still present, forcefully spray water on the undersides of the leaves.

Uncertain about the other images. Perhaps leafhoppers. In any event, not serious enough to warrant a spray. Spots happen!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 11:15PM
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As is noted in this article on Integrated Pest Management there is little real reason to do anything to control Lace Bugs since they seldom really do great harm to the plants they live on.
The stippling you see most likely is not going to stop the leaves from doing what leaves do, although it may be unattractive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lace Bugs

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 7:49AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

"they seldom do really great harm...."

Unless of course, their damage removes so much chlorophyll that the leaves CAN'T do what they are supposed to do. A large population of these insects can also result in the loss of other plant juices in large quantities. I've seen this occur on azaleas, pyracantha, and lantana, just to mention three of the common hosts of lacebugs. Such damage is common and not in the best interest of the plant to ignore.

OF COURSE, measures should be taken to restore the plant to a healthier status by controlling the pest. There can be up to 5 generations per year in a warm climate!!

But I agree with Jean, the images don't really indicate lacebug damage, though that stippling could make one think so. Here's a question: what does the UNDERside of those affected leaves look like? The bottom of lacebug infested leaves will always be covered with dark fecal matter and the tar-like spots which cover their egg clusters. Very dirty.

Is that what you see?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 12:18PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

We have lace bug damage locally, *serious* damage done by azalea lace bugs, a "new" pest which arrived in OR about 3 years ago. Damage on both azaleas & rhodies can be so severe that the leaves are a pale, faded yellow. Nasty, nasty critters.

The damage isn't the same as shown on OP's plants.

And as was said, lace bugs are very specific -- call that finicky -- about which plants they attack. No lace bugs go to the plants where OP has damage.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:34PM
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Of course the researchers at many universities may well be wrong about what they write.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 7:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Well, you attached a very good link, kimmsr. It mentions that action should be taken BEFORE the damage becomes severe. That's a good part of any IPM program, don't you agree?

It doesn't take all that long before a plant can get to the point of being beyond help. Few plants can go for very long with very little photosynthesis going on. Damaged leaves cannot be repaired by the plant, though if the lacebugs are checked, healthy new growth will soon emerge.

It should be noted that severe damage is most likely to occur on plants that may be under some kind of stress, so it is important, as always, to do what we can to make sure that we are growing our plants under the kinds of conditions where they are happiest.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 6:15PM
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