The Q&A Archives: Honey Locust Plant Bug

Question: Our honey locust tree is covered with honey locust plant bugs. We tried Safer's soap, which killed some but barely scratched the surface. Our state Ag. Dept. recommends using Sevin (carbaryl), but we are hesitant to do so, as we garden organically. Are there any biological controls we can try first? Will lacewings work on honey locust plant bugs?

Answer: Lacewings might eat the nymphal stage of the plant bug, though I don't have any documentation about natural enemies of the pest. But at this point in the season, the population is mostly mature bugs, so keep up the Safer's spray on the most infested branches. You can prevent an infestation next year by spraying a dormant oil on the tree to suffocate the overwintering eggs -- see the product label for directions on when to apply. If there are black locusts nearby, they should also be sprayed (if they aren't too tall). As added insurance, you may want to release lacewings in the spring when eggs are due to hatch (around late May -- but keep an eye on the tree to see if the plant bugs hatch sooner). Hope this helps!

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