Olive Lace Bug




Olives Australia Information Services


There is still somewhat of a shortage of good scientific research material on  lace bug however, we have outlined some basic specifications of the problem below.

The olive lace bug is one of the two simple sucking insects that can reduce  the vigor of olive trees. The first one is the brown or black olive scale (See OLIFAX 13). The lace bug is flat with lace-like wings, and is no more than 2mm in length. It resides on the underside  of olive leaves.

The first and very obvious clue that lace bug is present, is arusty  yellow spotting noticed on the top side of the leaves. The spots are about half the size of a pin-head and there can be up to one or two hundred on a single  leaf. The small yellow spots are easy to see as they contrast clearly against the otherwise dark green leaf surface.

The main secret to avoiding pest problems is to keep your olive trees in good  health but even this is not a guarantee. We have noticed around the industry that the healthier the trees are kept, the lower the incidence of lace bugs and other insects. Old, neglected trees, badly stressed as a result of water  shortage and lack of nutrients will be more affected by lace bug.

We have also noticed that trees which are not growing well due to poor land  preparation prior to planting or nearness to large eucalypts are also more susceptible to problems.

One spray of a suitable systemic insecticide will be adequate to completely  kill the insects. If the trees have been badly neglected, and infestation is  severe, then a second spray two weeks later may be necessary. After that, it will probably be twelve months before the trees need checking again.

To reduce the problem in the future, make sure that the trees are kept in  good health with adequate fertiliser, pruning and water. Systematic pruning will  also open the tree up to let the sun in. Dead and unwanted branches should be removed to further improve the health of your trees.

[IMPORTANT: Due to the chemical nature of the insecticide treatments,  Olives Australia is unable to recommend dosages or chemicals to be used. Please  check with your agricultural chemical supplier as to the suitability for olives,  method of application and safety precautions needed for the following: Supracide  or Lebaycid. Your local agricultural chemical wholesaler will let you know if these chemicals are registered for use in your state and the product label will give you the quantity to use.]

See Australian Olive Grower Issue 9 page 15 and Issue 14 page 8 for  further Olive Lace Bug research (available to purchase from our office).