Lacebugs: A Threat to Azaleas in Alabama
Lacebugs are a common pest that can cause significant damage to azaleas in Alabama, particularly in the Birmingham and Huntsville regions.
Ace Tree Services aims to provide you with essential information about lacebugs, the problems they cause, and how our services can help control and prevent infestations.
What Are Lacebugs?
Azalea lacebugs (Stephanitis pyrioides) belong to the Tingidae family of insects, which typically live and feed on the underside of leaves. Lacebugs are characterized by their thin, lacy outgrowths on their thorax and delicate lace-like forewings.
Why Are Lacebugs a Problem?
Lacebugs are a major concern for the nursery industry because they can cause significant aesthetic damage to plants. In established landscape plantings, azalea lacebugs can cause considerable damage to foliage if not controlled early in the season when populations are low. Both nymphs and adults damage plants by piercing and removing cell contents from leaf tissues, leading to stippling, bleaching, silvering, or chlorosis on the leaves.
How Can Ace Tree Services Help?
There are several methods to control lacebug infestations:
Biological Control: A variety of predators feed on azalea lacebugs, including azalea plant bugs, tree crickets, earwigs, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, and spiders. Augmentation with green lacewing larvae against newly hatched azalea lacebug nymphs can result in 79-97% control.
Cultural Control: Drought-stressed plants are more susceptible to lacebug attacks, and azaleas in the sun are nearly twice as likely to be infested. Planting azaleas in partial shade can help prevent lacebug infestations. Ace Tree Services can advise on the ideal planting locations to minimize the risk of infestation.
Chemical Control: Several chemical control strategies are available, including biorational programs that incorporate insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, and neem-based products. Insecticidal soaps and oils must directly contact the insects to control them and are most effective on newly hatched nymphs, providing 80-90% control if used correctly. Early season control is crucial with these treatments.
Additionally, contact insecticides and some systemic insecticides are available, although they may have a detrimental impact on beneficial insects. Ace Tree Services can recommend the most appropriate chemical control methods for your specific situation.
By staying informed about lacebugs and their impact on azaleas in Alabama, you can take action to protect your plants. Ace Tree Services is dedicated to helping residents in the Birmingham and Huntsville regions maintain the health and beauty of their landscape by offering expert advice and effective treatment solutions for lacebug infestations.
Call an ISA certified arborist from Ace Tree Service at (205) 332-7757!