How to Control Lace Bugs

*Handling an Infestation*
1. Rinse plants that have a minor infestation. If you only notice a few lace bugs per leaf, you might be able to use a hose to get rid of them. Make sure your hose has a strong stream of water, and spray down the plant to wash the bugs away.
2. Spray insecticides onto the bottom of leaves. Lace bugs and their larva often feed on the bottom of leaves, so you will need to spray the insecticide directly onto the undersides of the leaves. Start in late spring when the eggs first hatch, and reapply every ten to fourteen days.
-You can use an insecticidal soap, but make sure you spray the bugs directly with it. Pesticides, such as pyrethrin or neem oil, also work.
-Insecticides will kill nymphs and adults but not eggs.
3. Apply horticultural oil in the fall to kill eggs. The eggs appear as black spots along the veins of the leaf. These cannot be killed with insecticides, but they can be killed with horticultural oil. Spray it along the underside of each leaf in the fall.
4. Apply neonicotinoids to the soil if other methods haven't worked. Neonicotinoids include imidacloprid and dinotefuran. When added to the soil, the plant may absorb the substances, which can keep the plant bug free for a whole season. These typically come as a granule or as a concentration.
If you have a granule version, sprinkle it around the base of the plant. Water the plant afterwards.
If you have a concentration, follow the instructions on the label to mix it with water. Pour it evenly around the base, and water the plant afterwards.
Keep in mind that neonicotinoids may also kill off beneficial bugs.

*Assessing the Damage*
1. Examine the leaves. You only need to treat plants that are currently infested with lace bugs. Lace bugs cause white spots to appear on the leaf. The larger your infestation, the paler your leaves will become. A few white dots may mean a small infestation while leaves that are almost completely white indicate a much larger problem.
-The underside of the leaf may be covered in dark excrement.
-Do this every two weeks, starting in early spring and ending in late summer.
2. Check the undersides of leaves to look for the bugs. There are three different stages of a lace bug’s life. If you can reduce their numbers in early spring while they are still nymphs, you may be able to prevent an infestation in summer.
-Eggs are small, black, and oval. Three generations of eggs can be laid in one year, beginning in spring and ending in fall. Fall eggs will hatch next spring.
-Nymphs are small. They may have black, spotted markings, and they have not developed wings yet. Nymphs can hatch as early as April and as late as September.
-Adults have large wings with a lacy pattern. They may start appearing in early summer.
3. Monitor for early leaf drop. Severe infestations may cause the plant's leaves to drop early. At this point, you should use heavier pesticides to eliminate the lace bugs. New leaves should grow back as long as the infestation is handled.

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