Beneficial Insects Garden Pests
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Beneficial Insect – Green Lacewing

Green Lacewing

Common Name: Green Lacewing

Genus: Chrysopidae

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. It is often an instant cure whereas 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.

While there are dozens of beneficial insect predators, most have limited applications, one really stands out as having a multitude of applications – Green Lacewings.

Description:

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 anv veins. They have long, filiform antennae, and chewing mouthparts. Lacewing larvae have elongated, flattened bodies that resemble tiny alligators.

Diet:

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.

Life Cycle:

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.

Benefits

Huge appetite for aphids
Wide range of other pests attached
Several generations each season

Limitations

Only the larva stage is a predator
Ants can interfere with their attacks on aphids

Gardening With Green Lacewings:

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, use three successive releases.