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Effective management of insect pests of ornamentals requires proper diagnosis of the problem. Often we can make reliable diagnoses based on damage that insects cause. The most reliable diagnosis requires identification of the insect or mite itself. Diagnosis based on symptoms can be divided into damage categories as follows:

  • tattered leaves or flowers
  • stippled, bleached or bronzed foliage
  • die back of plant parts
  • evidence of insects themselves

Pests responsible for each category include:

  • Tattered leaves or flowers can be caused by grasshoppers, caterpillars, adult or immature beetles.
  • Stippled, bleached or bronzed foliage may be caused by insects with piercing mouth parts such as lace bugs or plant bugs. Mites or thrips may also cause this type of damage.
  • Die back of plant parts is often caused by scale insects or by beetles or moth larvae that bore inside the stems.
  • Evidence of insects themselves may be webs, tents, cases, flocculence (cottony material), frass (fecal material), sawdust.

Clicking on the links below will lead to a picture and description of the insects.