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Thursday - August 06, 2015

From: Broaddus, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Shrubs
Title: Lace Bugs on Lantana
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

All my lantana bushes are suffering from severe lace bug infestation. The lace bugs have been seen via microscope as well exoskeletons and poop. The buds are destroyed and I have no flowers for hummingbirds and butterflies. The two suggestions previously made by another source, insecticidal soap and horticultural oil, are not suitable for lantana at 100 degrees.

ANSWER:

Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides) and its cultivars are great plants for butterflies and hummingbirds. Unfortunately the lantana lace bug (Teleonemia scrupulosa) is a nasty pest for lantanas and often does extensive damage. Ironically, this lace bug was introduced into many countries as a biological agent to control lantana which is considered an invasive weed in come areas.

The University of Florida Entomology and Nematology department reports that the lantana lace bug ranges naturally from Florida and Texas southward through Mexico and Central America to southern Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Chile. It was intentionally introduced into Fiji, Australia, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Java, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Central African Republic, Zambia, Mauritius, and many Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. On Lantana, the lace bug feeds on the undersurface of the leaves and attacks newly opened buds and flowers. On purple sage, it feeds on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. Lace bugs feed on the underside of leave, but the damage is very apparent on the upper surface. Damage symptoms bear a strong resemblance to leafhopper damage, but lace bugs produce varnish-like spots on the underside of the leaves. Lace bug damage may resemble mite injury from a distance. However, feeding by mites causes chlorotic flecks in the leaves that are much finer than those caused by lace bugs. Close examination reveals that large numbers of contiguous cells are chlorotic where lace bugs have fed. Positive identification of lace bug damage is confirmed by the presence of black droplets of excrement on the undersides of the damaged leaves. Frequently, the cast "skins" of nymphs remain attached to the underside of leaves. Severe infestations cause the leaves to become almost white and drop from the plants.

Lace bugs have numerous natural enemies including egg parasites, lacewing larvae, assassin bugs, spiders and predaceous mites.

The University of Georgia Extension have a list of lantana cultivars that are more and less susceptible to lace bug damage.

Lantanas that are less susceptible to lantana lace bug:

  • Weeping White, White Lightning, Weeping Lavender, Imperial Purple, Patriot Rainbow, Denholm Dwarf White, Radiation, Dallas Red, Gold Mound, New Gold and Lemon Swirl
  • Cultivars of Lantana montevidensis
  • Small leafed varieties seem to be less susceptible than large leafed varieties, although both types can be attacked by lantana lace bugs.

Lantanas that are more susceptible to lantana lace bug:

  • Patriot Desert Sunset, Pink Frolic and Patriot Sunburst

If replanting isn't an option, consider Howard Garrett, The Dirt Doctor's organic maintenance advice for next June:

Lace bugs, elm leaf beetles green June bugs, etc.  Spray garlic pepper tea, summer-weight horticultural oil, plant oil products or mound drench products containing orange oil. Spinosad products will also work on this and other insect pests.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

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