Lace Bugs of Pyracantha spp

Disease Information

Lace Bugs


Adult lace bugs are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long with an elaborately sculptured dorsal (upper) surface. The expanded surfaces of their thorax and forewings have numerous, semitransparent cells that give the body a lacelike appearance, hence the name "lace bugs." The wingless nymphs are smaller, oval, and usually dark colored with spines. Adults and nymphs occur together in groups on the underside of leaves.


Lace bug adults and nymphs feed on the underside of leaves by sucking fluids from plants`photosynthetic tissues. This causes pale stippling and bleaching that can become very obvious on the upper leaf surface by mid to late summer. Adults and nymphs also foul leaves with specks of dark, varnishlike excrement; and this excrement sometimes drips onto pavement and other surfaces beneath infested plants. Certain other true bugs and thrips also produce leaf stippling and dark excrement. Mites also stipple leaves.  Mite infestations usually can be distinguished by the absence of dark excrement and sometimes by the presence of mite cast skins and fine silken webbing. Examine the lower leaf surface, using a magnifying lens if necessary, to identify what type of pest is causing the damage.


Organic Sprays for Lace Bug Control

In spite of their imposing shields, lace bugs are susceptible to most organic sprays.


The trick is to apply the sprays thoroughly to the undersides of leaves, where lace bugs feed and reproduce. Use these sprays to kill active lace bug adult and larvae populations:

Light horticultural oil - Insect soap – Neem - Spinosad

Cultural Control of Lace Bugs

As with all plants, those under stress make the tastiest meal for insect pests.

Ensure your plants can shrug off minor lace bug attacks by keeping them healthy. You may as well hang up a “dine here” neon sign if you allow your azalea, a woodland shrub, to bake in full sun. Dry soil and an absence of mulch also create conditions that pique the interest of lace bugs. Dappled shade or morning sun, regular irrigation, and a 3-inch layer of organic mulch keep plants vigorous and pest-free.

Beneficial Insects That Kill Lace Bugs

Many predators feed on lace bugs, reducing your need to spray insecticides on your flowering plants. Natural lace bug enemies include:

Assassin bugs



Pirate bugs

Predatory mites


If you want to provide a beneficial bug-friendly habitat to attract these natural predators, eliminate the use of insecticide sprays. Insecticides not only kill beneficial insects, but they eliminate the food source of beneficial bugs, forcing them to seek greener pastures.

Conventional Pesticides to Control Lace Bugs

If lace bug swarms are turning your flowering oasis into a withered graveyard, it might be time to break out some conventional chemical pesticides. A benefit of these broad-spectrum sprays is their residual effect, helping to kill multiple generations of lace bugs.

Use any of these sprays to kill lace bugs:

Carbaryl, sold under the brand name Sevin - Imidacloprid.or Malathion

Of these conventional sprays, only the imidacloprid is systemic, meaning the plant takes up the chemical, making it rain proof. Homeowners can shop for imidacloprid under the brand name Merit or Bayer Advanced Garden Tree & Shrub Insect Control.

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