Pest alert

Aza­lea lace bug

Gardening Australia - - YOUR PLANNER -

These an­noy­ing in­sect pests suck the juices out of leaves, caus­ing them to lose colour.

The prob­lem isn’t just cos­metic, ei­ther, as they weaken the plants and re­duce their chances of grow­ing well in sum­mer. Look un­der the new leaves in spring and you can of­ten spy the 2–3mm-long in­sects with lace-like wings, hence their name. You’re even more likely to see the co­pi­ous dark drop­pings they de­posit on the leaf un­der­sides. Try hos­ing the pests off with a strong jet of wa­ter or spray­ing with a hor­ti­cul­tural soap. Re­mem­ber, though, that once the leaves are dis­coloured, they stay that way, so it’s best to get rid of these pests now while their num­bers are still rel­a­tively small.

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