Lacebugs Have Arrived!
Here at Soils Alive, we're always on the lookout for pests that can become a problem in you landscape. The newest outbreak we've encountered? Lacebugs! Here is an outbreak we just discovered on some Chinquapin oaks along the Katy Trail. Luckily, we maintain plantings along the Katy Trail and are always looking out for cultural, pest or disease issues so we can catch them early and treat them naturally.
There are several species of lace bugs that occur in Texas and can become a problem when the weather is just right or if a particular host plant is present. The Azalea lace bug (Stephanitis pyriodes) can be a huge problem on Azaleas, Oak lace bugs (Coryhuca arucata) are common on oaks, Hawthorn lace bugs (C. gossypii) are common on pyracantha, hawthorns and quince and Lantana lace bugs (Teleonemia scrupulosa) are common on lantana and Texas sage plants. There are other species that attack a range of other plants, but these are the ones we see most often
The adults are about 1/8 inch long with large wings that cover their entire body. There are small clear cells that cover their body that look like lace, hence the common name “lace bug”.
Lace bugs can be difficult to manage because the females insert their eggs into the leaf tissue, which protects them from many topical pesticides. After the eggs hatch, they go through several molting stages in the leaf and then emerge as adults about six weeks later. You’ll also notice clusters of dark specs all over the leaves, which is their excrement.
Because the eggs are laid on the undersides of the leaves, you probably won’t notice they are there until the damage is obvious on the outer sides of the leaves. You’ll notice stippling and bleaching that results from the lace bugs sucking out the leaf sap. The damage typically becomes most noticeable in late summer. Lace bugs will produce several generations a year and can easily overwinter under fallen leaves or in the bark of your trees.
While lace bug damage won’t always cause serious damage to your plants, it depends on how large of an infestation you have, how vigorous the plant is, or if it’s properly adapted to the growing conditions. Azaleas, for example, are not well-adapted to the North Texas soils or climate. Because they are often already under stress, they can sustain significant damage from lace bugs. There is no treatment that can restore the damaged foliage, so it will need to drop naturally or be pruned away. If you find the infestation is growing then we need to take action.
Remember that using chemical pesticides will also kill the beneficial insects that can help keep pests in check. We prefer to use natural products that employ essential plant oils to treat pests like lace bugs. If you notice lace bug damage, or other pest problems, in your landscape don’t hesitate to give us a call! Or, you can always contact us online.
insects, pests, lace bugs, Dallas, Texas, Oak, Katy Trail, Soils Alive