Natural Remedies for Lacebug Control: Non-Toxic Strategies for Keeping Your Garden Healthy and Vibrant
Date May 03, 2023
Lace bugs are tiny pests that feed on flowering plant leaves. More than 2,000 lace bug species reside in North America, and they can wreak havoc on gardens. These tiny insects are so-called because their wings have a lacy appearance. Classic signs of lace bug damage include yellow or gray spots on leaves. Property owners looking to combat lace bugs have a variety of methods to choose from. Read on to learn about six nontoxic strategies for controlling lace bugs without adding harmful chemicals to gardens.
Image via Flickr by treegrow
Neem oil is a natural pesticide produced from neem tree seeds. Gardeners can add a tablespoon or two of the oil to a gallon of water, then pour the diluted mixture into a sprayer. Spraying affected leaves every two weeks (or as lace bugs appear) will kill the pests immediately. As a bonus, neem oil is also a fungicide.
Property owners can use lace bugs’ natural predators against them to reduce populations. Lace bug predators include ladybugs, assassin bugs, and pirate bugs. Gardeners can buy species, such as assassin bugs, online and release them near the affected plants. Because assassin bugs survive for about two months, they can effectively break the lace bug life cycle.
Gardeners who notice lace bug damage on leaves can prune the damaged foliage to remove the offending pests. However, they must burn the leaves or throw them away in a sealed bag to prevent the bugs from returning. Gardeners should never compost lace-bug-infested foliage, as the insects can survive and breed in piles that aren’t hot enough to kill them.
Property owners can create insecticidal soap to kill lace bugs. This insecticide is created by taking a mild liquid soap, mixing four to five tablespoons with a gallon of water, and then pouring the concoction into a sprayer. Gardeners can then spray the soapy mixture directly on affected plant leaves. Some individuals add other ingredients lace bugs don’t like to the mix, including garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Alternatively, several types of insecticidal soaps are available for purchase.
Pyrethrin is a naturally occurring organic compound found in some species of chrysanthemums. Spraying one of many pyrethrin products on affected leaves will kill lace bugs and other pests, such as mites and aphids. Pyrethrin is organic and breaks down quickly in sunlight, making it relatively safe for use on all plants, including fruits and vegetables intended for human consumption.
Spinosad is another natural compound that paralyzes lace bugs, killing them within a day or two. It’s made from a bacterium found naturally in soil that’s toxic to a variety of pests. Many spinosad-based products are available for purchase. Gardeners with bee populations on their properties, however, might want to avoid this option, as it can also kill bees.
Lace bugs can be frustrating and devastating garden pests. Fortunately, many nontoxic methods exist to control them in a plant-friendly manner. If you need help with insect management on your property, contact our knowledgeable team at TreeNewal. Our certified arborists can create a care plan to return your trees and shrubs to health.