Research on consumer, grower, and landscape manager perception of azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott), feeding and on plant productivity parameters, including gas exchange and growth, has increased our understanding of the nature of feeding injury. These studies made it possible to develop decision-making guidelines for cost-effective maintenance of aesthetically pleasing azaleas. Criteria were considered for three management situations: a 0.41-ha (1-acre) nursery production system that may use either insecticidal soap, acephate, or imidacloprid to control lace bugs; a landscape planting of a group of 10 azaleas; or maintenance of a single azalea in the landscape. Lace bug thresholds were calculated using a hybrid economic injury level (EIL) formula. Pesticide application decisions were determined using survey-based data from grower, landscape manager, and consumer perceptions of unacceptably injured azaleas at point-of-purchase for the nursery situation. Additional landscape scenarios incorporated the perceptions of growers, landscape managers, and consumers for those levels of lace bug feeding-injury that prompted the desire for treatment. Hybrid EIL determinations are appropriate for lace bug management in landscape systems where landscape professionals manage large plantings of azaleas and as a component of pest management among nursery production systems. Aesthetic considerations are more appropriate in determining control thresholds among a few or individual azaleas in the landscape.
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Vol. 94 • No. 5