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Lace bugs strike many types of plants, but they favor ornamental trees and shrubs. Like aphids, different lace bug species often target specific plants or plant families, which inspire common names such as azalea lace bug or sycamore lace bug. Lace bug eggs hatch into nymphs, which molt several times on their way to adulthood, getting larger and hungrier as they mature. From egg-laying to feeding, lace bugs focus on the undersides of plant leaves. They often go undetected until damage shows.

Identification: Depending on the species, lace bugs grow from 1/8 to 1/3 inch long. Their bodies and wings have raised ridges and intricate, semi-transparent surfaces that create a lace-like effect. Lace bug nymphs are small, wingless and covered with spines. Lace bug cover their small, oval eggs with a protective layer of black, varnish-like excrement when laid.

Signs/Damage: Lace bug adults and nymphs damage plants by piercing the undersides of leaves and sucking out plant juices. As nymphs molt, their castoff skins remain attached to the lower leaf surface. Damage shows on the upper sides of leaves as numerous, small, pale spots that may merge together. Unlike thrips and other pests that produce similar damage, known as stippling, lace bugs cover lower leaf surfaces with extensive dark excrement.

Control: Effective lace bug treatment starts early in the year, before damage and multiple generations of these pests occurs. Cover all plant surfaces thoroughly, giving special attention to the undersides of leaves. GardenTech® brand offers several products that kill lace bugs by contact and keep protecting for up to three months:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use is ideal for targeted spot treatments and small gardens. The container's adjustable nozzle lets you control the width of the stream for added precision.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a pump-style sprayer, provides an easy, economical way to treat larger garden areas. Use the measuring cap to measure the concentrate into your sprayer, add the recommended amount of water, and mix well.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray, attached to a standard garden hose, measures and mixes automatically as you spray. This product simplifies covering larger plants and areas thoroughly and uniformly, killing pests and protecting against more damage.

Tip: Lace bug eggs overwinter on plant foliage. Adults overwinter in protected spots, such as fallen leaves and garden debris. Clean your garden areas thoroughly at season's end and dispose of leaves and other plant litter.

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

 

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