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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
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.
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.
Andromeda Azalea Birch
Hawthorn Rhododendron Oak
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
June, July, August
early July, mid-August
Late May, June