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Beneficial Insects: Lacewings




  • Lacewing Larva Eating a Caterpillar
     
     

    Lacewings

    Latin Name: Family Chrysopidae. (Over 85 genera and 2,000 species in the world.)

    Lacewing Larva Eating an Aphid
     

    Why are they beneficial?
    Larvae feed on soft-bodied pests, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, thrips, caterpillars, whitefly, leafhoppers, and pest eggs.
    They LOVE aphids!
    A larva can eat 100-200 aphids per week.
    Many adults do not feed on other insects but on nectar and pollen; however, some adults (like the common Chrysopa genus – the “common green lacewing”) are voracious eaters of pests in the garden as well.

    What is their life cycle?
    The female will lay her eggs (200-300 in her life) in a small cluster on a plant leaf or stem.
    The eggs are suspended on a hair-like stalk.
    In a few days, the eggs hatch into larvae.
    The larvae mature and grow for 1-3 weeks depending on environmental conditions.
    When mature, the larvae pupate (go into a cocoon-like stage).
    In about 5 days, the adults emerge.

    What do they look like?
    This is important.  Most people only know what the adult looks like.  Here is what to look for in all stages of the life cycle.

    Single Lacewing Eggs
     
    Lacewing Egg Cluster
     
     
    Lacewing Eggs and Thumb (for size)
     
     
    Newly Hatched Lacewing Larvae
     
    Green Lacewing Larvae Feeding on Whiteflies
    Note that Lacewing Larvae are about 1/2 inch in length.
     
    Green Lacewing Larva Feeding on Aphids.
    Note that different species have different color patterns, but are basically the same shape.
    Lacewing Pupa
     
    Adult Lacewing
     
    Adult Lacewing (for size)
     
    Adult Lacewing.
    Note that colors and spots may be different with different species, but size and shape are about the same.
    What do they need?

    Prey: Lacewing Larvae feed on soft-bodied pests, mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, thrips, caterpillars, whitefly, leafhoppers, and pest eggs.
    Food: While some adult Lacewings are carnivoers and will eat the prey items above, all adult Lacewings should have nectar and pollen from flowers that have shallow clusters or are umbrella shaped to ensure reproduction… and more larvae!
    Examples of plants that provide nectar and pollen to Lacewings:  basket of gold, buckwheat, butterfly weed, carpet bugleweed, chamomile, chervil, chives, clover, cornflower, cosmos, coreopsis, cinquefoil, coriander, dandelion, dill, fennel, four-wing saltbush, golden marguerite, marigold, mustard, parsley, queen anne’s lace, scented geraniums, spike speedwell, sunflowers, tansy, vetch, wild carrot, yarrow).
    Lacewings also need places to overwinter – loose mulch, leaf litter, under rocks, etc.
    Some Lacewings will overwinter in the pupal (cocoon) stage.

    Original Article Here

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