Azalea lace bug is a pest that attacks the leaves of azaleas and rhododendrons causing bronzing or silvering across the top of the foliage. Use a hand lens to see the pest underneath the leaf where it will be found along with frass (insect poo) and webbing. Lace bug gets its name from its clear lacy wings that are marked with black. Clear or dark wingless insects near the adults are juveniles.

Plants that are stressed, particularly in very hot, sunny or dry conditions, are most susceptible to lace bug attack, which usually starts in spring. Grow azaleas and rhododendrons in semi-shade, keep plants well-watered and feed throughout the growing season with PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Roses & Flowers to help prevent pests.

Control pests when they are active by spraying the underside of the leaves with a pesticide specifically for azalea lace bug. If the infestation is heavy, try pruning away the affected foliage (put the leaves in a bag and into the rubbish bin) and encourage new growth with watering and feeding. To help the plants recover, water and apply Seasol every week to help strengthen the plant.

Treat new growth with a preventative spray. It is important to realise that once the leaves are damaged, they won’t recover even after the pest has been removed. New growth in spring will eventually replace the old, damaged leaves.

Silvering on the leaves on other plants, normally means that the pest is most likely two-spotted mite. It also feeds on the underside of the leaves among frass and webbing but has two distinct black spots on its body and is a spider relative. Care for affected plants and treat using a pesticide for mites such as EarthCare Rose Black Spot and insect spray. Spray the underside of the leaves where the pests are. Repeat applications may be necessary.

Understand azalea lace bug, it's characteristics and damage and how to treat and look after plants that have been affected

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