Generally, pest infestation is a challenge for many plant owners. Although, for Azaleas owners, the primary problem is with lace bugs. Nurturing Azaleas is usually an awesome process until lace bugs attack the shrub.
In a garden of flowers, Azaleas always stand elegantly amongst the others. However, when they are attacked by lace bugs, the sight of the shrub becomes horrifying. In that situation, how to get rid of the lace bugs on Azaleas becomes a problem.
The azaleas lace bugs are insects that belong to the family Tingidae. Generally, the insects feast underneath the leaves and also lay eggs there.
Although, at the inception of their attack on the shrub, lace bugs generally look harmless.
While it may seem like one or two lace bugs, pose no threat to your garden, leaving them uncontrolled encourages them to increase in population.
That is how they become challenging to control. The adult lace bugs keep breeding, and a plant owner will, at a point, find the situation frustrating.
The major sign a shrub infested by the insect manifests is: the leaves turn from a healthy green color to a silvery-white or yellow.
The change in color is caused by the insects after sucking different segments of the leaves. These segments die, losing the green color of the azalea leaves. If you fail to get rid of the lace bugs on your azalea, they will breed and cause severe damage to the leaves.
Hence, it is imperative to know how to get rid of lace bugs on Azaleas to prevent the insects from spreading and causing extensive damage to the leaves. On that note, listed below are 4 simple but effective ways to get rid of these insect pests on your flowering shrubs.
How To Get Rid Of Lace Bugs On Azaleas
1. Spray With An Organic Pesticide
Just like many other insect pests, lace bugs can be controlled by most organic pesticide sprays. Moreover, organic pesticide sprays are preferred because they are not as toxic as chemical sprays.
Hence, using them retains the nutrient in the soil and does minimal harm to beneficial insects for your flowers.
As explained above, lace bugs mostly feed underneath the leaves. Therefore, for effective results, spray the pesticide underneath the leaves.
That will equally destroy any egg that has been laid there. The best organic pesticides to use are neem oil, insect soap, Spinosad, etc. To get better results, spray organic pesticides at least once a month.
Moreover, resist spraying before it rains. It is best to spray pesticides in the summer. However, if it is raining season, wait for the rain stop before spraying.
2. Spray Down With Water
Apart from spraying with pesticides, you can also spray the plants with water to get rid of the lace bugs.
The force applied using a hose or a spray will wash the insects away from the leaves. Make sure to spray in the morning so that the water can dry early before sundown.
3. Make Use Of Natural Predators
In the feeding cycle, there is always the prey and the predator. For azaleas, lace bugs are the predator, while the leaves are the prey.
However, for lace bugs, several insects love to feed on them. Some of them are predatory mites, ladybugs, assassin bugs, spiders, lacewings, and pirate bugs.
Using natural predators is a biological method control of controlling lace bugs in your garden. Many plant owners prefer this method because it reduces the necessity to spray chemicals on their plants.
4. Use Chemical Pesticides
If you are dealing with a massive invasion of lace bugs, you may need to spray your garden with broad-spectrum insecticide.
Although they are not usually recommended because they can harm both pests and beneficial insects. Yet, it could be a last resort when other control methods have failed, and there is an increasing population of lace bugs.
Moreover, these chemical sprays have long-lasting effects and will get rid of the lace bugs on your Azaleas for a long time.
To get rid of an infestation of these insects on your azaleas, use an insecticide with any of these ingredients: pyrethroids, carbaryl, imidacloprid, Acephate, and malathion. Here are a few tips on using chemical pesticides
Use Imidacloprid For Water Resistance
Of all these products, imidacloprid is water-resistant and recommended for use during spring.
Use Acephate For Residual Effects
Acephate provides the most effective control as the leaves absorb the insecticide. The chemical penetrates through the leaves and will kill the insect pests underneath the leaves.
Use Neonicotinoids As An Alternative To Spraying
You can use neonicotinoids on the soil if you don’t want to spray the chemicals directly on the leaves. Neonicotinoids are a combination of imidacloprid and dinotefuran.
These chemicals can be applied to the soil and consequently absorbed by the plant. Thus, the insects will do after they chew the leaves because they consume the chemicals as well in the process.
Prioritize preventive measures over control measures. Early preventive measures are the best to get rid of lace bugs because that way, they do not spread in the first place. After the pests spread, it is more difficult to control them. Thus, practice the following preventive measures for the best result.
- Take care of your shrubs.
The susceptible plants are those that are poorly watered and fertilized. Therefore, ensure to water your shrubs regularly. In summer, water your shrubs thrice a week. On the other hand, in spring, water the shrubs twice a month. Also, apply fertilizers in early spring after they begin to bloom.
- Pick Out The Lace Bugs As Soon As You Find Them
The earlier you start to get rid of the insects, the better chances you have of preventing a massive infestation. As soon as you notice one or two insects on your Azaleas, brush them off and destroy.
Also, you could use the water spray method to make them fall off from the leaves. Lastly, destroy the lace bugs immediately before giving them a chance to reproduce.