Rhododendron Lace Bug – Stephanitis rhododendri

Rhododendron Lace Bug – Stephanitisrhododendri

Common Name: Rhododendron Lace Bug

Latin Name: Stephanitisrhododendri


  • The typical adult lace insect seen on ornamental plants is tiny (2-5 mm), oval, and flattened. When repose, the wings are kept flat over the insect, with the tips and outer edges extending beyond the body’s perimeter.
  • The adults are cream-coloured with black or brown spots. The wings of the azalea and andromeda lace bugs have a black X-shaped mark.
  • Nymphs are significantly darker and spikier than adults. They go through five developmental growth stages (instars) before becoming adults.
  • Nymphs can be discovered gathered in their black excrement, with nymphal skins cast on lower leaf surfaces.
  • Nymphs are around half the size of adults when fully developed. Dark-coloured eggs are implanted into the lower leaf’s midrib such that just the top of the egg is visible above the leaf surface.
  • They are protected by a varnish-like substance released by the female.

Host plant:     

The lace bug is a common pest of many deciduous trees and shrubs and broad-leaved evergreens like azalea, rhododendron, sycamore, Japanese andromeda, and others. Most lace insect species have rather narrow host preferences and only inhabit a limited group of closely related species.


The rhododendron lace insect, or Stephanitis rhododendron, is native to the whole United States.

Damages caused by Rhododendron Lace Bug:

Adults and nymphs of the andromeda lace insect harm the host by piercing the epidermis of a leaf. Feeding by nymphs and adults on lower leaf surfaces causes chlorosis or stippling on the top surface. This damage is commonly mistaken for mite harm. Lace bug damage produces chlorotic specks that are greater than those produced by mite assault. Plant juice withdrawal produces foliar darkening, decreased plant vigour, and premature leaf drop. Lace bug numbers and consequent foliar damage may develop when azaleas and rhododendron are planted in a sunny area.

Life history and habits:

The rhododendron lace bug leaves stippled on the upper surface and crusty or tar-like feces on the below surface. Adult insects are whitish-tan, and about 1/8 inch long “long, with lace-like wings Nymphs reach a size of around 1/8 “and have spines Infestations are more severe on plants that are exposed to sunlight. By early to mid-July, the damage is generally visible. While rhododendron lace bug infections are seldom lethal, they can cause yellowed, sickly plants. This bug does not live on azaleas. Each year, the Rhododendron lace bug produces one generation. It survives by laying eggs on the underside of leaves, commonly along leaf veins.