Eggplant Lacebug

On Tuesday, while we were out working in the garden, one of the Master Gardeners noticed that the ‘White Egg’ Eggplant had some leaves that were looking a little speckled. We checked the undersides of the leaves, expecting spider mites, and this is what we found:

At first glance, it looks like a bunch of aphids with a weird fly thing hanging out with them. The bizarre part was that the winged insect didn’t fly off when the leaf was disturbed.

After some keen eyes and a little research by one of our afternoon Master Gardener Hotline workers, it was determined to be a lacebug. I looked in the Insects of Kansas book and found that there is actually an Eggplant Lacebug. It said that the adult lacebugs will hover and protect the eggs and nymphs, which is exactly what the adult lacebug appeared to be doing on our sample. Lacebugs, as Hemipterans (true bugs), feed by piercing the leaves and sucking the juice out of them, very similar to how aphids and spider mites feed.

The Insects in Kansas book calls these a “frequent pest of eggplant,” but it is certainly a pest I’ve never seen before!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on July 5, 2012, in Insects Abound! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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