NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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The ash lace bug, Leptoypha costata, is an oval, small, mottled brown insect with the surface of the wings divided into tiny cells. The thorax is closely covered with tiny pits. The antenna are as large in diameter as the legs. Ash lace bug eggs take 9 or 10 days to hatch and the nymphs take about 25 days to mature. The nymphs are sometimes parasitized by tiny midge maggots. The ash lace bug overwinters as adults in sheltered areas. Appropriately enough, the ash lace bug feeds on ash, a member of the olive plant family. A related species, Leptoypha hospita feeds on Chinese privet (also in the olive family). Female Leptoypha hospita lay about 240 eggs each and continue laying until death about 75 days later. The ash lace bug probably has a similar capability. The ash lace bug has three generations per year in Missouri and is likely to have the same number here in North Carolina.

Dorsal view of an Ash lace bug

Ash lace bugs feed on ash and sometimes on witch hazel.

J.R. Baker

Host Plants

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Ash is the usual host for the ash lace bug, but it has also been collected from witch hazel.

Residential Recommendations

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A parasitic midge in the genus Endopsylla has been reared from a mature ash lace bug nymph. Perhaps that and other parasites and diseases explain why this species is not noticed more. It is not likely that ash lace bug populations have been sprayed with insecticides to the point that they have developed resistance. Any of the insecticides labeled for landscape use available in nurseries and big box store garden centers should give more than adequate control.

Other Resources

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For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension center

This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.


Professor Emeritus
Entomology & Plant Pathology

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Publication date: March 22, 2019
Revised: Jan. 10, 2024

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