Lace Bug Overview
There are around 140 lace bugs species within the USA and the most common bugs are different from one area to another. The andromeda is common in Connecticut while sycamores in Florida and Oklahoma. Most of these bugs were named after their host plants like the elm lace bug that feeds on American elm, oak lace bug on oaks, sycamore lace bug on sycamore plant and more. Other lace bug species also feed on basswood, black cherry, hickory, fringe tree, buckeye, and birch among others.
Different adult lace bugs measures from 1/8 to 3/16 inch long and all have beautifully sculpted wings with very detailed veins that looks like a lace. There are lacy extensions on the front part of the body and a lacy hood extending above the head as well. Some lace bugs species appear in almost white and slightly transparent while others have black and brown marks. Nymphs don’t have wings but have spines on their back and are usually black with pointed ends. Both young and adult lace bugs are found underside the leaves of their host’s plant most of the time.
Female lace bugs lay their eggs underside the leaves usually along the midline of a leaf. The eggs are partly inserted into the leaf tissue and are almost invisible to the human eye. These bugs tend to discharge a brown sticky substance that hardens the eggs and secure them properly to the leaf. After a few days, the eggs will hatch and start feeding on the leaves. They suck the leaf to extract the liquid and cell contents that serve as their food to grow.
The dark nymphs go through 6 stages before completely being an adult. The entire life cycle of lace bugs takes 30-40 days. Lace bugs are most common during the summer and fall. Some of the bugs spend winter in the leaf or on the cracked surface of a tree trunk or other protected areas of their host plant.
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In case the leaf is extremely infested by lace bugs, white and yellowish spots will appear from the surface of the leaf and may fall from the tree or plant. The clear identification of lace bug infestation is the presence of shiny, dark brown spots and stains underside the damaged leaves. This happens because the dark skin of the nymphs stays on the leaves.
Enemies of lace bugs like larvae, spiders, predaceous mites, and lacewing help in keeping the infestation controllable. However, serious infestations may require an immediate solution from a professional. It’s not difficult to control lace bugs with differently available insecticides but still its best to contact your local pest control service provider.