Lace Bugs are very common insects found in most parts of the world. They occur throughout the year and they feed on many different plants including fruits, vegetables, flowers, nuts, seeds and even other lice like mealybugs. The larvae live inside the plant’s tissue where they feed on the plant’s tissues until they pupate out into tiny nymphal stages which then molt several times before emerging as adults.
The adult female louse flies (Diptera: Tachinidae) lays eggs on host plants. These eggs hatch into larval forms and feed on the plant’s tissues until they pupate out into tiny nymphal stages which then molt several times before emerging as adults. The larvae feed on the plant roots, stems, leaves or fruit and eventually kill them all off. The larvae are called “lice” because they attach themselves to the host plant’s tissue and feed there.
Insects such as lice have been around since long before humans were even thought of. They are one of the oldest known groups of animals on earth, dating back millions of years! In fact, some scientists believe that insects may actually be the first animal species ever to evolve! Insects are so diverse that it would take a book just to list them all.
There are many different groups, or classes, of insects including ants, bees, flies, and beetles among many others. Some of these groups contain thousands of species each!
Azaleas belong to a group of plants called ericaceous plants. They contain an element called acid which is toxic to humans but it seems that insects find this element to be very nutritious! Lace bugs begin their life by hatching from eggs. The hatchlings are white and maggotlike in appearance.
They immediately start to feed on the leaves by sucking out the contents. The tiny insects excrete a substance called honeydew which coats the leaves and attracts other insects like ants. After several weeks the lice drop from the plant and begin their pupal stage. A few days later the adults emerge and the life cycle starts all over again.
In most cases there is no way to stop them from coming back unless you put some sort of barrier around your plants. You can purchase sticky tape that has a coating on it that will retain the insects or you can use a fine mesh screen. You must remember to check this barrier regularly because it can easily fall down and you don’t want your plants becoming so infested that they die.
Azalea lace bugs are very small insects that pierce the stem and leaves of the plants and suck out the nutrients. They also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew. This substance coats the leaves and flowers of the plant and often causes so much damage that the plant does not survive.
Sources & references used in this article:
Evidence for resistance of deciduous azaleas to azalea lace bug by SK Braman, AF Pendley – Journal of Environmental …, 1992 – meridian.allenpress.com
Evaluation of Components of Vegetational Texture for Predicting Azalea Lace Bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Heteroptera: Tingidae), Abundance in Managed … by PM Shrewsbury, MJ Raupp – Environmental Entomology, 2000 – academic.oup.com
Evaluating grower, landscape manager, and consumer perceptions of azalea lace bug (Heteroptera: Tingidae) feeding injury by WE Klingeman, SK Braman… – Journal of economic …, 2000 – academic.oup.com
Light intensity, host-plant irrigation, and habitat-related mortality as determinants of the abundance of azalea lace bug (Heteroptera: Tingidae) by RB Trumbule, RF Denno – Environmental Entomology, 1995 – academic.oup.com
Evaluation of green lacewings for suppressing azalea lace bug populations in nurseries by PM Shrewsbury, DC Smith-Fiola – Journal of …, 2000 – meridian.allenpress.com
Management considerations for the azalea lace bug in landscape habitats by RB Trumbule, R Denno, MJ Raupp – Journal of Arboriculture, 1995 – academia.edu
Using aesthetic assessments of azalea lace bug (Heteroptera: Tingidae) feeding injury to provide thresholds for pest management decisions by WE Klingeman III, GD Buntin… – Journal of economic …, 2001 – academic.oup.com
A Scientific Review on the Ecology and Management of the Azalea Lace Bug Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott) (Tingidae: Hemiptera) by S Nair, SK Braman – Journal of Entomological Science, 2012 – meridian.allenpress.com