Backyard Gardening

Defeating the Lace Bug Menace

31 July 2020

Generally, pest infestation is a challenge for many plant owners, and for Azalea owners, the primary problem is how to get rid of lace bugs on Azaleas. 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 lace bugs attack them, they are natural enemies 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 lace bugs generally look harmless at the inception of their attack on the shrub.

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 that the leaves healthy green color becomes silvery-white or yellow.

The insects cause color change after sucking different segments of the leaves. These segments die, losing the green color of the azalea leaves.

If you fail to remove 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 pest control 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 less toxic than chemical sprays.

Hence, using them retains the nutrients 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, and Spinosad.

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 a rainy season, wait for the rain to stop before spraying.

2. Spray Down With Water

Apart from spraying with pesticides, you can also spray the plants with water to eliminate the lace bugs.  The force applied using a hose or spray will wash the insects away from the leaves. Make sure to spray in the morning so 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 predators, 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 to control 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. However, 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 eliminate 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 the leaves and kills 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 also consume the chemicals in the process.

Ways To Get Rid of Lace Bugs on Azaleas - Gardeners Yards

Other Ways To Get Rid of Lace Bugs on Azaleas

Often, preventive measures are better than treatment. And if you want to get rid of lace bugs on your Azaleas, the best thing you can do is keep them healthy.

How can you do that?

By providing your Azalea plants with the right environment to thrive and flourish. Make sure they are planted In areas where they can still have some shade and not right under the sun’s heat.

Since you want to eliminate lace bugs, you must also check your Azaleas periodically to keep them under your radar. Once you notice the slightest signs of lace bug infestation, use all the ways we have enumerated in this article.

You can also be strategic in watering them by washing off the underside of their leaves should you see signs of lace bug growth.

At the same time, you can use lace bug predators, such as lady beetles, pirate bugs, and wasps, to keep lace bugs off your Azalea plants.


Prioritize Preventive Measures Over Control Measures

Early preventive measures are the best to get rid of lace bugs because 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. When you notice one or two insects on your Azaleas, brush them off and destroy them. Also, you could use the water spray method to make them fall off from the leaves.

Lastly, destroy the lace bugs immediately before allowing them to reproduce.

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