Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Development of azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides, on susceptible and resistant Rhododendron species in western Washington.

Abstract

The invasive azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott) (Tingidae: Hemiptera), is an important pest of Rhododendron (L.) (Ericales: Ericaceae). Feeding by nymphs and adults removes chlorophyll, reduces rates of photosynthesis and transpiration, and causes leaf stippling, which reduces the aesthetic value of infested plants. Rhododendron spp. are a major component of landscapes in the Pacific Northwest. Previous studies on the seasonality of S. pyrioides in North America are largely from the southeastern United States, which could have limited applicability in the Pacific Northwest. To quantify S. pyrioides seasonality in western Washington, we sampled ~200 leaves from 18 Rhododendron plants 1-2 times per wk from April to October over 2 yr, and microscopically counted the number of eggs, early instars, late instars, and adults. We developed a degree-day model for first generation S. pyrioides, which we used to estimate that S. pyrioides undergoes two full and a partial third generation in western Washington. Our model estimates 5 and 50% early instar occurrence, after hatching from overwintering eggs, at 69 and 171 accumulated degree-days from 1 January, respectively, when using a base threshold of 10.2°, which can be used to optimize the timing of management decisions. We also observed faster development and adult emergence when S. pyrioides nymphs feed on susceptible host plants relative to more resistant host plants, which may influence the timing of management decisions and potentially increase the probability of a full third generation. This research enhances our knowledge of an emerging invasive species in the Pacific Northwest.