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What is a Lace Bug?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Lace bugs are recognized by the delicate lace appearance of the veins in their wings. As beautiful as they are, gardeners aren't happy when they find lace bugs on their plants or trees. These bugs damage plants and can destroy large trees in one season. There are several different types of lace bugs that target various plants and trees.

One of the most popular types of lace bugs is the oak lace bug. This bug is found in Alabama and the eastern United States, from the Carolinas to southern Canada. Oak lace bugs are black, with transparent wings. Their thorax measures a quarter inch (0.635cm) in length.

The hackberry lace bug is known for turning whole hackberry trees yellow. This is caused by the lace bug breaking through the epidermis of the leaf and sucking out the sap. The hackberry lace bug has a black thorax and white wings. They measure approximately 3/8 of an inch (0.95cm) long.

The sycamore lace bug is found in Canada and the United States. A majority of the sycamore lace bug infestations happen in Florida. Sycamore lace bugs are pure white and measure an eighth of an inch (0.32 cm) in length. The sycamore lace bug leaves a white stippling underneath the leaves of the sycamore tree.

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Eggplant lace bugs are known for destroying entire eggplant crops in Maryland, Oklahoma and Missouri. This type of lace bug causes half inch (1.27 cm) circular spots on the eggplant leaves. Eggplant lace bugs are gray, brown and black with yellow legs.

Hawthorn lace bugs destroy entire rose bushes. They attack the underside of the leaves, leaving behind yellow spots. The hawthorn lace bug can be found all over the United States, Mexico and Canada. They attack the hawthorn, cotoneaster, button bush, quince and apple rose bushes. They are an eighth of an inch (0.32cm) long with a black thorax, brown wings and yellow legs and antennae.

Lace bugs can be prevented by planting your trees and plants in the shadier areas of the yard. Lace bugs prefer bright, sunny areas. If lace bugs are noticed in the spring, spray the nymphs off the leaves with a hard jet of water before they can attach to the underside.

If a lace bug infestation occurs, try using an insecticidal soap. It is most effective when sprayed directly on the underside of the leaves, where the lace bugs attach. If this is ineffective, chemical applications are required. Acephate, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and malathion are effective against lace bug infestation. It is best to prevent infestation before it occurs, as oftentimes, the damage is done before the lace bugs are detected.

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