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Pest Information

Avocado lace bug

  • Latin Name: Pseudacysta perseae
  • Common Name: Avocado lace bug
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Origin:

This is a native insect in North America, possibly native to the Southeast U.S.

Biology:

In cold regions the bugs will be dormant through the winter as either adults hidden under crevices in the bark or in piles of fallen leaves, or as eggs laid within the tissues of the leaves of evergreen trees. In the spring eggs hatch, the new nymphs undergo several stages over about a 6 week period, and the winged adults appear. Several generations can be expected each year. They feed by means of a proboscis that is inserted into the leaves and fluids are removed. Extensive feeding leads to chlorosis and a general mottled or stippled look to the leaves, along with heavy accumulations of dark fecal droplets. This species is a pest of avocado trees in California, the southeast U.S., as well as the Caribbean, Mexico, and parts of South America. It also feeds on bay and camphor trees.

Identification:

The presence of lace bugs may be noted by the mottled look to the leaves, along with the insects and the characteristic black fecal spotting on the undersides of the leaves. The adult insects are quite distinctive as they have fully developed wings that are very broad, flattened, and heavily veined, giving them a lace-like appearance. Different species have various patterns of colors on their bodies, and the wingless nymphs are armed with spines around the perimeter of their body. They are small insects only about 1/8 inch long. This species has distinctive white wings with a black bar running across the middle, as well a black thorax and head. Nymphs are nearly all black.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Lace bug infestations rarely cause actual damage to a plant, other than the unappealing look to the leaves from the feeding and fecal spots. If spraying is needed most insecticides can be effective, but must be applied thoroughly to the lower surfaces of the leaves. Horticultural oils, safer soaps, neem oil, or traditional residual insecticides all control lace bugs effectively. Because the eggs may be tucked into plant tissues they are protected from insecticides, and multiple treatments may be necessary.

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