The relationship between azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott), abundance and components of vegetational texture were examined in managed landscapes to determine which component(s) best explained patterns in lace abundance. In managed landscapes, azalea lace bug is a key pest of azaleas and its abundance varies dramatically in time and space. The components of vegetational texture examined were light exposure, plant species diversity, evenness and richness, host patch size, and structural complexity of the landscape. The best habitat predictors of lace bug abundance were structural complexity and light exposure explaining 54 and 53% of lace bug variation, respectively. Three of the remaining four components also were significantly related to lace bug abundance. Further examination of light exposure revealed that afternoon readings explained more of the variation (52%) in lace bug abundance than morning readings (9%). Of the five vegetational strata that comprise structural complexity, the overstory tree layer and ground cover/turf layer (76%) were the best predictors of lace bug abundance. The implications of this work are that landscapes can be evaluated for susceptibility to lace bugs and perhaps other pests. It also provides information for designing landscapes that support fewer pest problems, resulting in low-input sustainable landscapes.
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