Symptoms: These pests feed on the lower surface of leaves and suck the juice out similar to spider mites or leafhoppers. The leaves then give that mottled look with speckles of yellow, gray or white mixed in with the green chlorophyll. Unlike those other insects, lacebug feeding results in shiny, hard, black droplets of their excrement that stick to the bottom of damaged leaves.

Diagnosis: Lacebugs feed on a number of trees and shrubs, however, each species of the insect is specific to a species of plant. The immature bug is small, light or dark, spiny and wingless while the adult is brownish with clear, lacy wings. Both types feed on the leaf.

The mottling is, like other sucking insects, caused by the loss of chlorophyll due to the removal of sap from the leaf. The impact on the plant is usually minimal except in the case of very large populations of lacebugs. The damage is unsightly and may result in a loss of vigor and energy in the plant.

Solution: Infestations may be treated with systemic insecticides or other contact insecticides labeled for control of lacebug. Insecticidal soaps may also be effective. Either treatment should be applied to the bottom of the leaves for best control.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


Types of Insects

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