For all of you nursery and landscape professionals, be on the lookout for Lace Bugs on Azaleas and Lantana. If this pest has been a problem for you historically, now is the time to treat. If you have never had an issue with this pest, do not apply an insecticide; As members of the Green Industry, we should never haphazardly "spray and pray."
This is an easy insect to identify: large lacy wings (hence the name), black-and-white coloration and a tendency to stay in groups on the undersides of the leaves.
The black dots on the undersides of the leaves are a combination of their varnish-like excrement and egg masses. The mommas guard their eggs, keeping predators away.Damage to the leaves is a bleaching effect. On susceptible cultivars, they can turn the plants white, severely impacting their vigor and aesthetic value.Want to avoid insecticides all together? Choose a cultivar that is resistant to infestations by Lace Bugs. There are too many azalea cultivars for me to get into, but I will say that the Southern Indica cultivar 'Delaware Valley White' is very tasty to a Lace Bug.