Green Lacewings

  • January 31, 2018

by Wizzie Brown

Green lacewings are considered beneficial insects and are predaceous, in all larval and some adult stages. Larvae are well-known for consuming aphids and are sometimes referred to as “aphid lions,” but they feed not only on aphids, but a variety of soft-bodied insects as well as mites and insect eggs.
Eggs are laid singly or in small groupings on top of a thin stalk. Since lacewings eat insect eggs, having the eggs off of the plant surface allows them to reduce cannibalism from siblings. Larvae are mottled brown and white and can grow to ½ an inch in length. Larvae have bodies tapered on both ends with sickle-shaped mouthparts. Some larvae cover themselves with debris to camouflage themselves from predators. Lacewings spin a round, light colored, silken cocoon on the plant surface.

Adults are green and about ¾ inch in length. They have four wings of similar size and shape that contain numerous veins, cross veins, and cells. Adults can often be seen near porch lights at night. Some adults are predaceous, while most feed on nectar, honeydew, and pollen.
While lacewing larvae are great when feeding on insect eggs and small insects, they can be a nuisance when they bite. While this does not happen often, it can leave a red, itchy spot on some people.
Encourage lacewing populations in your yard by providing pollen and nectar sources.

For more information or help with identification, contact Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist at 512.854.9600. Check out my blog at www.urban-ipm.blogspot.com

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