Beneficial Insect — Green Lacewings
Common Name: Green Lacewing
Genus Species: Chrysoperia rufilabris
While there are dozens of beneficial insect predators, most have limited applications, one really stands out as
having a multitude of applications – Green Lacewings.
Controlling insects biologically is challenging because it requires certain detailed knowledge of the
target pest, frequent monitoring of the pest populations and anticipatory strategies. That sort of
control usually means the application of agricultural chemicals.
To rely on biological controls alone one must think ahead. One must recognize and anticipate a threatening
pest population buildup. Plants can tolerate some pests and the economic threshold should be a consideration. In
other words, the dollar gain should exceed the dollar cost.
Lacewings in this group are nearly always green in body and wing color. Adult lacewings have lacy
wings and they look transparent. Their wings have short hairs along the edges and veins. They
have long, filiform antennae, and chewing mouthparts. Lacewing larvae have elongated and flattened
bodies that resemble tiny alligators.
Lacewing larvae feed on other soft-bodied insects or arachnids, including aphids, mealybugs,
mites, and Lepidoptera eggs. As adults, lacewings may consume a more varied diet.
Lacewings undergo complete metamorphosis, with four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and
adult. The life cycle varies in length according to species and environmental conditions. Most adults will
live for 4-6 months. Generally, the larval stage may last several weeks, and usually requires three instars.
Pupae may develop into adults in the safety of a silken cocoon attached to the underside of a leaf or on
a stem, but some species pupate without a case. Common lacewings may overwinter as larvae, pupae,
or adults, depending on the species.
Huge appetite for aphids
Wide range of other pests attached
Several generations each season
Only the larva stage is a predator
Ants can interfere with their attacks on aphids
Green Lacewing eggs and
larvae hanging under a leaf.
Green lacewing eggs have been available from a biological control supply houses and even Amazon.com. These
have been used with success in controlling aphids in greenhouses and in plant beds. One advantage when using
lacewing eggs over lady beetles is that the beetles are winged and will disperse from the release area. When the
lacewing larvae hatch, they are wingless and remain in the general area to search for insect prey.
The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county
agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.
Lacewings are the best all-purpose predator for your garden or
greenhouse. Lacewings stay where the eggs are placed in the garden and the larvae are
voracious feeders. About 10 of these Chrysoperla rufilabris lacewing eggs per plant or
1,000 eggs per 200 sq. ft. will control a moderate aphid population.
For best results, release Green Lacewing early in the season when pest numbers are low.
Make a minimum of 3 releases. In gardens and greenhouses, release eggs at approximately
1,000 eggs per 2,000 sq. ft. For farms release 5,000 to 50,000 per acre depending upon infestation.