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:
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!