Lace bugs are small soft bodied insects (3mm) with large lacy wings. All stages of the lace bugs cling to the underside of the leaf surfaces. As the bugs are so small they are usually not detected until damage is noticed on the leaves. The eggs of lace bugs over winter on the midveins of leaves before hatching in spring. Lace bugs are attracted to a wide variety of ornamentals such as azaleas, rhododendrons, viburnums, flowering quince, crabapple and cotoneaster.
Because lace bugs suck the juices from the leaf, they leave white or yellow spots or marks on the upper surface. This will eventually give a silvery mottled appearance to the whole leaf if they are allowed to continue feeding. As the lace bugs feed, they also leave behind tiny black, hard varnish like droppings. Once leaf damage has occurred it cannot be reversed, so proactive control measures are required.