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Evaluating Grower, Landscape Manager, and Consumer Perceptions of Azalea Lace Bug (Heteroptera: Tingidae) Feeding Injury

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A survey using modified azalea stems was used to establish a “tally threshold value” for assessing azalea lace bug, Stephanitis pyrioides (Scott), feeding injury to azalea shrubs. Consumers and green-industry professionals, represented by ornamental growers, landscape architects, and landscape managers, recognized azalea lace bug injury when injured leaf area exceeded 2%. Purchase and treatment decisions of professionals and consumers were evaluated by surveying responses to Rhododendron indica variety alba ‘Delaware Valley White’ azaleas representing a range of damage. Survey participants also provided a brief biographical background and answers to questions regarding pesticide use, ability to identify diseases, pests, and beneficial organisms, and willingness to consider pesticide alternatives. Professionals and consumers expressed a strong interest in limiting urban pesticide use. The 2 groups indicated a hypothetically acceptable level of 6–10% plant damage by arthropod pests. A 2% injury threshold was used to determine the level of proportional damage (the percentage of leaves displaying 2% or more lace bug leaf feeding injury) resulting in either the rejection of plant purchase or initiation of treatment. A nonlinear curve was fit to treatment and no-purchase responses of professionals and consumers using a modified 3-parameter Mitscherlich nonlinear growth function. Half of the surveyed professionals and consumers indicated that damage proportions >10% (1.03% actual injury) were sufficient to reject an azalea for purchase. Proportional damage levels >43% (3.3% actual injury) would be necessary to prompt 50% of the respondents to initiate treatment of damaged azaleas to control lace bugs.

Keywords: Rhododendron; Stephanitis pyrioides; aesthetic injury; azalea lace bug; integrated pest management; survey

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/0022-0493-93.1.141

Publication date: February 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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