How To Get Rid Of Lace Bugs Without Harming Honeybees

Q: I have a lot of azaleas and every year they get lace bugs. I have used oil sprays and such, but these products require a lot of applications to keep the bugs under control. I read about using a drench at the root system as a once-a-year application. But I have a couple of honey bee hives and the drench warns against using if bees are present.

A: It is my understanding that imidacloprid, the common systemic drench, moves through a plant in its xylem and phloem. These sap-conducting tubes do not connect to the flowers that might attract bees. I’m not aware of any peer-reviewed studies that have found imidacloprid applied as a drench harmed honeybees. You’ll get excellent control of azalea lace bug by applying a drench
after the azalea flowers have fallen.

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