Rhododendron: Rhododendron lace bug

categories: Ornamentals Rhododendron Rhododendron Insects Shrubs

revision date: 2024-06-05 02:07

Rhododendron lacebug symptomson leaves.
Rhododendron lacebug symptoms on leaves
Photo by: C.R. Foss


The rhododendron lace bug causes stippling on the upper surface of the leaves, and deposits crusty or tar-like excrement on the lower surface. Adult insects are whitish-tan and approximately 1/8″ long with lacy-looking wings. Nymphs grow to about 1/8″ and are spiny. Infestations are more severe on plants in the sun. Damage is usually apparent by early to mid-July. While almost never fatal, repeated infestations of rhododendron lace bugs may result in yellowed, sickly plants. This insect is not found on azaleas. Rhododendron lace bug has one generation per year. It overwinters as eggs laid on the underside of leaves, usually along leaf veins. See also Azalea: Azalea lace bug.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Some spiders and insects such as assassin bugs and minute pirate bugs may help control the population naturally.
  • Hand removal of adults and nymphs on a regular basis will limit the amount of visible damage.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Apply in spring when nymphs appear. Difficult to control with one application.
  • Avoid using Sevin (carbaryl) if there is any possibility of pesticide drifting onto nearby blooming plants.
  • These products are toxic to bees.
  • Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall.
  • Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Approved Pesticides

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.

Additional Images