Answer: This would be an insect known as the Azalea Lace Bug. There are several different lace bug species, but the azalea lace bug is the one we commonly encounter throughout North Carolina landscapes.
They cause a blotchy appearance to the top leaf surface. Foliage infested with lace bugs often turns yellow and prematurely shed from the plant. The females typically lay eggs along the midrib on the underside of the leaves.
The adults have a lace like wing appearance. Majority of the lace bug species produce at least two generations per year. Below is a brief description of the most common lace bugs.
Azalea Lace Bugs average around one-eighth of an inch long and one-sixteenth of an inch wide. Their wings have brown and black markings, with the legs and antennae being light brown in color. Most people do not realize they have azalea lace bugs until they see a change in the foliage appearance.
Hawthorn Lace Bugs are small and dark. They are typically found on host plants including hawthorn, pyracantha, and cotoneaster.
Rhododendron Lace Bugs are approximately three-eights of an inch in length with black bodies and gray tent wings. Typically host plants are rhododendron and mountain laurel.
Control options for these lace bug creatures include acephate, horticultural oil, imidacloprid, and insecticidal soap. Be sure to read and follow the label directions when making any chemical application. For more information about lace bugs please visit the following link http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/ent/notes/O&T/shrubs/ort039e/ort039e.htm.
Reminder: Please call the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center at 910- 592-7161 with your horticultural questions and to register for any upcoming events. Be sure to check out the Ask An Expert Widget at sampson.ces.ncsu.edu for any questions you may have. Beginning the first Monday in May, the Extension Master Gardener Hotline will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The hotline will be open on Mondays, beginning the first Monday in May through the end of June. Please call 910-592-7161 to speak with a Sampson County Master Gardener Volunteer regarding your horticultural related questions.