Various insects attack azaleas, including lace bugs, mites, scales, red-headed azalea caterpillars and rhododendron borers. These insects damage azalea plants, but you can eliminate the infestations using several methods.
Choose one of several azalea varieties that offer a resistance to certain insects. For example, the azalea cultivars Dawn, Pink Star, Dram and Elsie Lee can withstand azalea lace bug attacks.
End a light infestation of scales and red-headed azalea caterpillars by physically removing and discarding them. Some azalea insects have natural enemies that feed on them. Lacewings, assassin bugs, spiders and predaceous mites all eat lace bugs. Ladybird beetles and thrips feed on mites.
Insecticidal soap sprays can kill young lace bugs and small populations of mites. Carbaryl and cyfluthrin can control adult lace bugs, scale crawlers and red-headed azalea caterpillars. Use the miticide fenbutatin oxide against mites and the insecticide permethrin against rhododendron borers.