Question: My entire boxwood planting has turned a pale tan color this summer. I see no insects, but lots of black specks on the backs of the leaves. What caused it?

Answer: Lace bugs. The adult is a smallish insect with transparent wings, hence the name. However, you’ll seldom see the insects themselves, just the black excrement they leave behind. They won’t kill the boxwood, but they can make it look really ugly for the rest of the growing season and through the winter. Control them at the first signs of their tiny tan mottling by spraying with any general-purpose insecticide. Their early damage looks somewhat like that of spider mites, but mites rarely visit boxwoods.

Back To Top