Q: I have tiny black specks on the underside of my azalea leaves. What is causing this? Plus, leaves never look very good but they still bloom. I have them in full sun. Do you have any thoughts?
A: The black specks are evidence of an insect that was active last spring and summer and is now gone, but I suspect he will return. The insect is called a Lace bug, which is found under the leaves. Lace bugs are very small and quite attractive. OK, I’m the only one who thinks they are attractive. They are piercing and sucking insects that suck out the plant juices which causes a stippled look to the top portion of the leaf. Although azaleas will survive in full sun, they ideally should be grown in partial sun so consider moving them if possible. For more information on the control of Lace bugs on check out the University of Florida publication titled: “Lace Bugs on Ornamental Plants”, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG326