The critical period is in early spring when eggplants are still in the seedling stage. Nymphs are feeding on the underside of leaves in groups, covering them with brown excrement. The chewing of the leaves results in round, discolored patches clearly visible on the upper side of the leaf blades. Increasing damage causes leaves to turn yellow and eventually shrivel up and curl. Severe infestation may kill whole plants or weaken them so that fruits fail to develop.
Adults of eggplant lace bugs are light brown and white, with transparent green, lace-like veins in the wings. They are about 4 mm in length and survive in plant debris, waiting for favorable weather conditions to emerge and lay eggs. Eggs are greenish and glued to the undersides of leaves in clusters. Nymphs are wingless, yellow with a dark spot at the tip of the abdomen. Both nymphs and adults damage leaves, but while nymphs feed locally, adults fly to other plants and spread the damage in the field. Yield losses are usually minimal, but in some specific cases, they can be consequent. Besides eggplants, alternative host plants include tomato, potato, sunflower, sage, cotton, nightshades and weedy horsenettle.
Conserve natural enemies of eggplant lace wings include ladybugs, spiders, and pirate bugs. Insecticidal soaps, pyrethrins and neem oil can be sprayed onto the undersides of the leaves.
Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. Broad-spectrum insecticides based on malathion or pyrethroids can be used as foliar sprays, but should be used carefully as they might harm beneficial insects.