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Stephanitis takeyai PRA for PHSC by A. MacLeod, April 2000


PPM point 8.8

  1. PRA Initiation

This PRA was initiated in January 1998 after eggs and immature specimens were collected from established Pieris sp. (Ericaceae) growing outdoors in South East England. The Pieris plants that were infested had been bought from the Netherlands between January and June 1996 (DOMERO ref 36316/2/1).

  1. Pest Risk Assessment

1. Name of pest (Genus, species, Authority, Order, Family, Common Name)

Stephanitis takeyai Drake & Maa, Hemiptera, Tingidae, andromeda lace bug*

* = Not an official UK MAFF common name

Synonym = Stephanitis globulifera
2. (a) Does it occur in the EU or arrive regularly as a natural migrant ?

This species is not reported in the EU although it appears to have been at a location in the UK for at least two years (see 7 below). It was reported as established in Poland in 1999, having been introduced on andromeda stock from Germany in 1998 (Soika & Labanowski, 1999).

2. (b) Is there any other reason to suspect that the pest is already established in the EU ?

Yes - Soika & Labanowski (1999) suggest that this pest was introduced into Poland from Germany. UK interceptions during 2000 have involved plants from the Netherlands and perhaps Italy (see Table 2).

3. EU Directive status ? (Annex or not listed)

Not listed.

4. EPPO Status ? (Listed or not listed)

Not listed.

5. What are its host plants ?

Oligophagous. In Honshu, Japan, S. takeyai alternates between its two main hosts feeding on Pieris japonica during the winter and Lyonia elliptica during the summer. If Lyonia elliptica is scarce, S. takeyai may continue to feed on P. japonica (Tsukada, 1994b).

Table 1: Stephanitis takeyai host plants.



Common name

Grown as an ornamental in the UK ?


Pieris japonica *

Lyonia elliptica *

Rhododendron spp.



includes azaleas

Yes (widely)


Yes (widely)


Illicium religiosum

Chinese onise



Lindera benzoin

Cinnamomum camphora

Sassafras albidum


camphor tree







storax family



Diospyros kaki

keg fig



Pinus densiflora

Pinus thunbergii

Japanese red pine

Japanese black pine



* = favoured hosts. References: Neal (1988), Wheeler (1977), Tsukada (1994c), Lord (1993).
Soika & Labanowski (1999) suggest that plants within the Hippocastanaceae, Magnoliaceae, Rosaceae, Saxifragaceae and Styracaceae are also hosts. In the USA, S. takeyai attacks ornamental Ericaceae, especially Rhododendron spp., Pieris japonica and has spread to feed on Lindera benzoin and Sassafras albidum. Alternative food-plants, less favourable than P. japonica, are P. floribunda and the hybrid P. floribunda X japonica (Dunbar & Beard, 1974).
(a) Highlight the crop plants grown economically, including those of environmental / amenity value in the EU.

See Table 1. Note especially Pieris japonica. This is a medium sized shrub with attractive, glossy foliage and white waxy flowers. It is native to China and Japan and was first cultivated in the UK about 1870 (Anon. 1992). There are now over 50 cultivated varieties, some of which are widely available from garden centres and nurseries in the UK (Lord, 1993). Other plants at risk in the UK include Rhododendron sp. (Azaleas).

(b) Are any of the host plants of forestry importance ?

In Japan, S. takeyai can be found in forestry on Pinus densiflora and P. thunbergii (Watanabe, 1983) where it can presumably become a pest.

6. What is its present geographical distribution ?

Stephanitis takeyai is native to Japan, but has spread to the USA, where in 1967 it was present in Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania (Anon., 1967). More recently it has been recorded in West Virginia (Torres-Miller, 1989).
Within Europe it is present in Poland, probably Germany (Soika & Labanowski, 1999) and the Netherlands, perhaps Italy.
7. Does it appear capable of becoming introduced into the EU ? i.e. Could it enter the UK or EU ?

UK: Yes. This PRA was initiated after live Stephanitis takeyai were found in the UK.

Since this pest has come to attention, the PHSI have reported interceptions of S. takeyai. Interceptions between January and March 2000 are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: PHSI interceptions of Stephanitis takeyai* in England & Wales, Jan – Mar 2000.




23-29 Jan

on 1,328 plants. Strongly suspect Stephanitis takeyai


13-19 Feb

on 26 plants via The Netherlands? or Italy?


20-26 Feb

on 5 plants from The Netherlands/ Rhinebeck


20-26 Feb

on 2 plants


05-11 Mar

on 354 plants


19-25 Mar

on 2 plants from Netherlands/ Pannabakker or Stoljwick with 30+ live immatures


* = or suspect Stephanitis takeyai

Could it sustain a population in the UK or EU ?

(a) Outdoors

Yes - this PRA was initiated after eggs and immature specimens were collected from established Pieris sp. (Ericaceae) plants growing outdoors South East England.

Eggs are laid in the leaves of hosts where they overwinter (Tsukada, 1994a). Of six leaves submitted to CSL, there were 12 to 280 eggs per leaf (DOMERO ref 36316/4/1/1). Nymphs hatch from overwintered eggs at the end of April. In the eastern United States there can be up to four generations per year and adults are found until mid December (Dunbar & Beard, 1974).
At 25.0 oC, the egg stage lasts 9 to 14 days with the five nymphal instars taking 12 to 15 days. The duration of development from egg to adult is therefore about 23.0 days, with the preoviposition and oviposition periods 6.6 and 14.8 days, respectively. Adult females live for up to 44 days and males 63 days, with females laying up to 378 eggs (Dunbar & Beard, 1974).
Details of thermal requirements for development are given in Table 3.

Table 3: Development data for female Stephanitis takeyai on Pieris japonica.

(source : Tsukada, 1994c)

Life stage

Threshold for development

To (o C)

Degree days above To required for development

Rate of development





y= 0.004419x - 0.03066





y= 0.004853x - 0.04647


y = rate of development x = temp (0C)
Based on the data in Table 3, three or four generations per year should be possible in the south of England.
Two generations of the pest occur in Poland each year. Eggs are the overwintering stage (Soika & Labanowski, 1999)
(b) on protected crops

Not a pest of protected crops.

8. What is its potential likely to be as (i) a pest or (ii) virus vector in the EC ?

(i) These bugs cause injury when nymphs and adults suck sap from the lower surface of hosts leaves, causing unsightly mottling and sometimes death of the plants (Dunbar & Beard, 1974). During the last two years, gardeners had noticed bronzing of the leaves, of infected Pieris plants, typical of feeding damage by lace bugs. Some of the damaged plants were removed and destroyed in 1997. PHSI reported infected plants had severe speckling and excretory products on the leaves (DOMERO REF 36316/2/1).
In North America, the Tingidae or lace bugs are a very important family causing much damage to woody ornamentals. There are several pest species in the genus Stephanitis, for example, S. pyrioides on Rhododendron spp., S. pyri on woody Rosaceae including Crataegus, Malus, Prunus and Pyrus; and S. typica on a wide range of tropical and subtropical crops (Malumphy pers. comm.).
(ii) Not a virus vector.
9. What are the prospects for continued exclusion ?

Nil - a population of S. takeyai has been present in the UK for at least two years.

C) Pest Risk Management
10. What are the prospects of eradication ?

Fairly good. During surveys of the site in February 1998 all infected Pieris plants were identified and labelled (DOMERO ref 36316/6/1). Gardeners then pruned, bagged and burned plants (DOMERO ref 36316/8). In March 1998 further surveys around the outbreak area showed no damage symptoms on the many potential hosts suggesting the outbreak had been contained (DOMERO ref 36316/11).

A related species, Stephanitis rhododendri commonly known as the Rhododendron bug, was introduced at the beginning of the Twentieth Century and originally became a common and widespread pest of Rhododendron in England, Wales and southern Scotland. Today, however, it is less common and is only a local pest (C. Malumphy, pers. comm.)

11. What management options are used / are available, to implement control or eradication (in summary) ?

Severe pruning and burning of infested shrubs or destruction of whole plants. Systemic (e.g. Imadicloprid) and foliar (e.g. deltamethrin) insecticides.

12. Conclusion [revised 2/2004]

Stephanitis takeyai appears to have been present in a small area of South East England for six years. It has a limited number of host plants in the UK. However hosts are attractive ornamentals that are widely grown and may be of high value.
The pest is damaging and eradication is recommended. Measures being taken at the outbreak site reduced the population but eradication has proven difficult.
Since the pest was first reported, the profile of this pest has been raised and interceptions on plants from EU colleagues have become of concern.
During the extensive official surveying of rhododendron for Phytophthora ramorum neither S. takeyi or S. rhododendri have been reported, suggesting that distribution in the UK is very restricted.
13. References

Anon. (1967) Entomology circular, No. 62, Florida Dept. Agriculture, Div. Plant Industries.

Anon. (1992) The Hillier Manual of trees and shrubs, 6th Edn., David & Charles, Winchester, 704pp.
Lord, T. (Ed. ) (1993) The Plant Finder, 6th Edn., Headmain, Whiteside, 734pp.
Dunbar, D.M. & Beard, R.L. (1974) Bionomics of the andromeda lacebug, Stephanitis takeyai. In: Beard, R.L. (Editor). 25th Anniversary Memoirs, Connecticut Entomological Society, p277-289, New Haven, USA, Connecticut Entomological Society.
Neal, J.W., Jr. (1988) Unusual oviposition behaviour on evergreen azalea by the andromeda lace bug Stephanitis takeyai (Drake and Maa) (Heteroptera: Tingidae), Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 90, (1), 52-54.
Soika, G. & Labanowski, G. (1999) [The andromeda lace bug – a new pest in Poland]. Ochrony Roslin, 43, (3), 14-15. (MAFF Translation on file PPH 2563)
Torres - Miller, L. (1989) New records of lace bugs from West Virginia, USA. Insecta Mundi, 3, (1), 10.
Tsukada, M. (1994a) Zymogram comparisons between eleven species of Japanese lace bugs (Heteroptera: Tingidae), Applied Entomology and Zoology, 29, (1), 63-70
Tsukada, M. (1994b) Seasonal host alternation by the andromeda lace bug, Stephanitis takeyai (Heteroptera: Tingidae) between its two main host-plant species, Researches on Population Ecology, 36, (2), 219-224.
Tsukada, M. (1994c) The effect of temperature on the development and longevity of the andromeda lace bug, Stephanitis takeyai (Heteroptera: Tingidae) on its two main host plants, Pieris japonica and Lyonia elliptica. Applied Entomology and Zoology, 29, (4), 571-576.
Watanabe, H. (1983) Effects of repeated aerial applications of insecticides for pine-wilt disease on arboreal arthropods in a pine stand. Journal of the Japanese Forestry Society, 65, (8), 282-287
Wheeler, A.G., Jr. (1977) Spicebush and sassafras as new North American hosts of andromeda lace bug, Stephanitis takeyai (Hemiptera: Tingidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 79, (2), 168-171.

Name of pest risk analyst: Alan MacLeod

Address: Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK.
Date / Progress of PRA

Jan. 1998: First version of PRA

March 2000: Updated with information from Soika & Labanowski (1999).

April 2000: Revised the prospects for eradication (from uncertain) after visits to the site by

PHSI and taking the management measures taken into account. Interceptions added.

February 2004 – Concluding remarks revised by Paul Bartlett.

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