NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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The andromeda lace bug, Sephanitis takeyai, is a relatively uncommon pest in North Carolina, although where it does occur, it can cause quite a bit of damage. The andromeda lace bug is a fairly showy lace bug that grows to about 1/8 inch long. Adults have an inflated "hood" that covers the top of the head. The head and wings are contrastingly marked with black and clear, colorless areas. By late winter, most adults and nymphs perish; this insect usually spends the winter in the egg stage inside the leaf. Eggs are usually inserted into the tissue of a young leaf causing a tiny watery blister beneath a shiny, dark, varnish-like drop of excrement. Nymphs are almost colorless at hatching but are soon dark and spiny. They molt five times before becoming adults. Andromeda lace bugs, eggs, and nymphs are found on the undersides of leaves. We have at least four generations per year in North Carolina, and they are active between May and September. The first generation causes the most damage.

Andromeda lace bug on a leaf

Andromeda lace bugs are small, dark, lacy insects.

Andromeda lace bugs

Andromeda lace bugs, their nymphs and eggs are usually found under leaves.

Host Plants

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Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica) is susceptible to the andromeda lace bug. It is rarely found on azalea, leucothoe, and rhododendron. Mountain Andromeda (Pieris floribunda) is highly resistant to this lacebug, and it should be utilized in place of Japanese andromeda wherever possible. Feeding injury is is apparent on the upper leaf surface as severe yellow to gray stippling.

Leaves showing stippling caused by andromeda lace bugs

Andromeda lace bugs cause yellow or gray stippling on leaves.

Residential Recommendations

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Consider using mountain andromeda as an alternative to Japanes andromeda in the landscape. Apply pesticides to the undersides of the foliage for best management. Applications of horticultural oil (at the summer rate) or insecticidal soap work well when applied to the leaf undersides. More than one application may be necessary as new eggs hatch. Soil-applied systemic imidacloprid can also be very effective, apply after bloom of infected plants whenever possible to reduce the potential for impact on pollinators.


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For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.

This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.


Professor Emeritus
Entomology and Plant Pathology

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Publication date: April 8, 2017
Revised: Oct. 26, 2019

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