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FS783

Fact sheet

For a comprehensive list of our publications visit www.rce.rutgers.edu

Lacebugs: Life Cycle, Monitoring, and Pest Management in New Jersey

Deborah Smith-Fiola, Ocean County Agricultural Agent

Appearance and Habits

Lace bugs are small, delicate insects that are named for the transparent, lacelike texture of the wings of the adults. In New Jersey six lacebug species are common, primarily attacking Azalea, Mountain Laurel, Cotoneaster, Andromeda, Py- racantha, Rhododendron, and Hawthorn (Table 1). Although all species have similar life cycles, they emerge and are active at different times (Table 1).

Figure 1. Adult

Figure 2. Nymph

Azalea Lacebug

Adults are 1/8- to ¼ inch long, with lacy wings held flat on the back (Fig. 1). They fly fairly well. Immature lace bugs (nymphs) are oval and color- less at birth, but soon turn black and spiny (Fig 2.) Nymphs do not have wings. Both adults and nymphs can be seen with the naked eye. All lace bug activity occurs on the underside of leaves.

Damage

Evergreen plants are preferred plant hosts over deciduous plants (those that drop their leaves). Lace bugs obtain food by piercing the leaf epider- mis with their slender beaks and sucking the cellular “sap”. This causes the upper leaf surface to appear stippled with minute white spots. Light feeding produces a yellowish stippling; heavier feeding causes leaves to appear white, or bleached, before they dry completely and fall off.

Table 1.

Lacebug Species

Andromeda Azalea Birch

Hawthorn Rhododendron Oak

Sycamore

Host Plant(s)

Pieris (Andromeda) Azalea, Mountain Laurel Birch, Beech, Mountain Ash, Maple, Ironwood Cotonester, Hawthorne, Pyracantha, Quince Rhododendron Birch, Mountain Ash, Elm, Walnut, Cherry, Linden Sycamore, Ash, Hickory, Mulberry

late-May

July

mid-May

June, July, August

May

June

Egg Hatch

Later Generations

mid-May

early July, mid-August

late-April

Late May, June

June

August

May

July, (Sept.)

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