Common Shrub Insects: Aphids and Lace Bugs

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Trees and shrub in a yard

The best way to protect your shrubs from insects is by checking on them regularly. This blog will be about the different types of bugs that you might find in your shrubbery, including aphids and lace bugs. When it comes to protecting your plants, knowledge is power!

What insects kill shrubs?

The most common insects you will find on shrubs that kills them or stunt their growth are:

  • Aphids: aphids come in many different colors and feed on the sap of plants. They can be found around new buds or leaves, causing them to curl into a "C" shape.
  • Lace Bugs: lace bugs suck juices from stems and leaves, leaving behind yellow spots that turn brown as they die off.
  • Bag Worms: bag worms are the larvae of moths, they eat on many different types of plants. They spin bags that attach to leaves and stems, causing them to wither away.
  • Thrips: thrips can be found in shrubs as well as fruit trees. They feed off of plant juices by puncturing holes into the surface, making them vulnerable to disease.
  • Japanese Beetles: Japanese Beetles are beetles that eat on leaves, leaving holes behind. They also lay eggs in the soil for larvae to feed after hatching.

What are Aphids?

Aphids are commonly found on the underside of leaves where they suck sap from the plant. They also emit sticky honeydew which falls to the ground and attracts other insects like ants, flies, wasps, etc. Aphid infestations can lead to stunted growth or deformed new shoots (especially in fruit trees). The most common Aphids found in Virginia are:

  • Greenbug
  • Corn leaf aphid
  • Bird cherry-oat aphid
  • English grain aphid

Are Aphids harmful to humans?

Aphids are not harmful to humans. They can, however, be a nuisance on pumpkins and cucumbers where they leave sticky honeydew which attracts ants that will protect them from predators or pesticides.

Are Aphids bad for plants?

Aphids can be bad for plants. They suck the sap from a plant and leave behind droppings called honeydew which attracts other insects like ants, flies, wasps, etc. Aphid infestations can lead to stunted growth or deformed new shoots, causing your shrubs to look unhealthy.

How do you get rid of Aphids permanently?

There are several ways to get rid of aphids permanently. The best way is to use neem oil which will not harm beneficial insects but kills the pests. Beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps feed on both nectar and aphid honeydew so they can help control them naturally.

What are Lace Bugs?

A lace bug is a name for several different species of insects in the family Tingidae. Lace bugs are known as some of the most destructive insect pests to ever hit plants. They can damage leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit.

Lace Bug eggs are laid on leaf surfaces during spring or early summer depending on which part of North America you are in. The eggs are often laid in a row and covered with a white, waxy substance.

Lace bugs feed by inserting two hollow mouthparts into leaves where they suck out plant juices which cause discoloration of leaf surfaces.

What do Lace Bugs look like?

Lace bug larvae look very much like adult insects but smaller and wingless. They have six legs near their head that they use to grab onto leaves or stems when moving around on plants. The rest of the body is soft and wormlike which helps them to move around easily. The larvae are usually green, brown, or black in color while the adults tend to be red and black with white spots on their wings.

Are Lace Bugs harmful to humans?

Lace bugs are not harmful to humans and do not spread diseases. They can be a nuisance if they reproduce in large numbers and can cause your trees and shrubs to look unhealthy.

What does Lace Bug damage look like?

Lace bug damage looks similar to other types of insect damage. Look for damaged plant foliage, yellowing leaves, and dying branches on your trees or shrubs. If you have a lace bug infestation it is likely that there will be leafhoppers present as well.

How do you get rid of Lace Bugs?

You can get rid of lace bugs by spraying your trees and shrubs with a mixture of dish soap, water, and neem oil. Make sure to spray as the leaves are opening up in springtime for maximum effectiveness.

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