Andromeda Lace Bug – Stephanitis takeyai

Andromeda Lace Bug: Appearance, Territory, Damage, and Life Cycle

Latin Name: Stephanotis Takeyai

Appearance: Lace bugs are tiny, discrete, plant-eating insects. When mature, the majority of pest species measure about three-sixteenths of an inch. The azalea lace bug, andromeda lace bug, and rhododendron lace bug are three species that are frequently found damaging shrubs.

The andromeda lace bug is a lace bug that can grow to be approximately 1/8 inch long. An inflatable “hood” covers the top of the head in adults. The head and wings have dark and clear, colorless parts that contrast. Most adults and nymphs die by late winter; this insect normally spends the winter in the egg stage inside the leaf.

Hosts Plants: The andromeda lace bug (Stephanitis takeyai) is a pest insect that feeds on Pieris plants, particularly Pieris japonica, the Japanese andromeda.

Territory: Stephanitis takeyai, the andromeda lace bug, is a pest that isn’t very prevalent in North Carolina, but when it does appear, it may do a lot of harm. The UK very recently welcomed this species, which was first discovered there in 1998. Mostly found in the southeast of England, though possibly more commonly now.

Damage Insect Cause: Lace bugs feed by sucking plant juice, extracting the protein they require and excreting the excess juice as honeydew. The most typical feeding symptom is stippled and mottled golden foliage. These insects feed on individual plant cells on the lower leaf surface using piercing-sucking mouthparts, causing the upper leaf surface to look stippled. These yellow-stippled regions eventually fade. The undersides of the leaves have varnish-like “tar” markings. Infestations are more severe on plants that are exposed to sunlight. By early to mid-July, the damage is obvious.

Life History and Habits: The andromeda lace insect overwinters as an egg on the undersides of the plant’s lower leaves. The eggs hatch between early and mid-May. The little (1/16-inch) black spiny nymphs (immature insects) start feeding right away. They disperse to other leaves after one or two molts (growing stages). The nymphs become adults after about a month. Adults measure 3/16-inch in length and have net-veined translucent wings with black patterns. Adults lay eggs on the underside of the leaves at the midrib. Andromeda lace bugs can have four or five generations every year.