Azalea Lace Bugs
Azalea lace bugs can often go undetected until the plants they attack show severe damage. They feed on the underside of the leaf by piercing and then sucking the sap out of the plant. This inhibits the azalea’s ability to produce food and also causes it to be more vulnerable to damage from other insects or even diseases. Reoccuring infestations can even cause the azalea to die. The bugs lay their eggs on the underside of leaves where they stay until they hatch in late March to early April. Once the eggs hatch they go through five nymph stages before becoming an adult. It takes about one month for it to complete its development from an egg to an adult and they have at least four generations per year.
Even though the azalea lace bug feeds on the underside of leaves, you can notice the most damage on the upper leaf surface. There will be a large amount of connecting chlorotic leaf cells. There will also be brown to black drops of excrement and old skins of the nymphs on the underside of the damaged leaves. It is important to prevent damage early in the season.
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