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Azalea Caterpillar

Arnold T. Drooz, USDA Forest Service.bugwood.org

Datana major Grote & Robinson - Larva(e) The partly grown larva (caterpillar) is approximately 10 millimeters long and reddish to brownish black with white and yellow stripes. The mature caterpillar is about 50 millimeters long and black with eight near-white, longitudinal, broken stripes; the head and legs are mahogany red. The caterpillars often defoliate much of the plant before they are detected.

The azalea caterpillar is gregarious, feeding in groups; all members raise head and posterior in unison when disturbed. Comparatively little is known about the biology of this insect. Apparently there is only one generation per year. Eggs are deposited by the female moth in masses of 50 to 100 on the underside of the leaf. The first-instar caterpillars feed in a cluster side by side unless disturbed.Azalea Lace Bug

Colorless at first, the spiny nymphs hatch from the eggs, gradually darken, and go through five growth stages before becoming adults. Because of the extended oviposition period, it is quite possible to find all stages together on the undersides of the leaves at the same time. Usually two or more generations are produced in a year. The insect overwinters in the egg stage. In the South these overwintered eggs start hatching in late February, building up to a dense population during March, April, and May. A second brood comes along in July, August, and September. During early August eggs are laid. By the middle and last week in September, many adults of this brood are present, the overwintering eggs are deposited at this time and during the first part of October.

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