Stephanitis takeyai found for the first time in United Kingdom
In United Kingdom, an outbreak of the andromeda lace bug, Stephanitis takeyai, was found in a garden open to the public in the county of Surrey. The insect is causing damage to Pieris japonica (andromeda) and Rhododendron. The Plant Protection Service is taking action to eradicate this pest and investigate the possible source of introduction. It is noted that the risk of spread from this site is very limited as there is no plant propagation. However, investigations will be made to determine the extent of this outbreak.
Stephanitis takeyai (Hemiptera: Tingidae) is a pest of ornamental Ericaceae which originates from Japan. Damage is caused by nymphs and adults sucking sap from the lower surface of the leaves, causing mottling and sometimes death of the plants. During the course of this century, S. takeyai was introduced into North America (with another species S. pyrioides). Neal and Oliver (1991) noted that in North America, both species have become severe pests and are difficult to control because eggs are inserted and concealed with frass in leaf tissue and are not affected by the normal treatments. The preferred host of S. takeyai is Pieris japonica (P. floribunda and P. floribunda x P. japonica can also be hosts but are less suitable). The pest can attack azalea and rhododendron. In Japan, another important host is Lyonia elliptica. In USA, attacks of S. takeyai were reported on spicebush (Lindera benzoin) and sassafras (Sassafras albidum), but these plants were generally growing near highly infested P. japonica (Wheeler, 1977). Biological studies carried out in the laboratory and the field in USA (Dunbar et al., 1974) showed that the egg stage lasted 9-14 days and that the 5 nymphal instars developed in 12-15 days at 25 °C. The duration from egg to adult is 23 days, pre-oviposition and oviposition periods were respectively 6.6 days and 14.8 days. Adult females could live up to 44 days, and adult males up to 63 days. A female could lay up to 378 eggs. The insect overwinters as egg stage in leaves of infested plants. During field trials in Connecticut (US) carried out in 1973, four generations were observed, hatching started on the 28th April and adults could be seen until the 10th December.
Note: Pictures of adults and damage can be viewed on Internet (http://entweb.clemson.edu/cuentres/cesheets/ornament/ce130.htm and cs131.htm).
Plant Protection Service of United Kingdom, 1998-03.
Dunbar, D.M.; Beard, R.L.; Beard, R.L. (1974) Bionomics of the andromeda lacebug, Stephanitis takeyai.
25th Anniversary Memoirs, Connecticut Entomological Society, 277-289. (abst.)
Neal, J.W.; Oliver, J.E. (1991) Unidirectional asymmetric sexual hybrid in sympatric Stephanitis lace bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae).
Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 84(5), 480-487.
Tsukada, M. (1994) Seasonal host alternation by the andromeda lace bug, Stephanitis takeyai (Heteroptera: Tingidae) between its two main host-plant species.
Researches on Population Ecology, 36(2), 219-224. (abst.)
Wheeler, A.G. Jr (1974) Spicebush and sassafras as new North American hosts of andromeda lace bug, Stephanitis takeyai (Hemiptera: Tingidae).
Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 79(2), 168-171 (abst.)