WSU Extension

Hortsense

Lacewings
 
Lacewings 



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Caption: Adult golden eye lacewing (Chrysopa oculata) (Chrysopidae)
Photo by: D.G. James
  
Lacewings : Lacewings
(revision date: 10/11/2018)


Biology
Adult lacewings are delicate-looking slender-bodied creatures (1/2 to1 inch) that fly weakly with lacy, netted wings. There are green lacewings and brown lacewings with the former most frequently seen in gardens. Brown lacewings are generally smaller (1/4 to ½ inch) and active earlier and later in the season than green lacewings. Green lacewings lay their eggs singly, each on a long hair-like stalk, presumably keeping the egg away from substrate-based predators. Although adults of some lacewings are predatory, it is lacewing larvae that provide most of the pest control services given by these unique insects. Lacewing larvae like lady beetle larvae, resemble little alligators but differ by having enlarged sickle-shaped mouthparts that extend forward from the head. These mouthparts puncture prey and suck out their juices. A garden with abundant lacewings is almost certain to be a well-balanced habitat, since these predators thrive best in undisturbed, pesticide-free environments.

Prey or Pest Targeted
  • Mites, aphids, leafhoppers, whiteflies, thrips, mealybugs, caterpillars, insect eggs, scale insects
     
Attracting and Keeping Natural Enemies & Pollinators in Your Yard
  • Avoid regular use of synthetic, broad-spectrum pesticides. Infrequent use of certain narrow-spectrum pesticides is more compatible with some beneficials but generally the less chemical inputs there are, the greater and more diverse the beneficial insect community will be. Extensive lawns are also not conducive to attracting and retaining a diversity of beneficial insects, mites and spiders. Minimize lawn areas and maximize shrub and bush plantings. Many beneficials reside naturally in riparian and other ‘natural’ areas near to many back yards. Natural dispersion from these refuges ensures that some beneficials will visit back yards but they will not stay unless food, host and shelter resources are available. Native plants have closer affinities with native insects and therefore provide most of these resources. A garden with a good diversity of local native flora in and around back yards, will improve the abundance and diversity of local, beneficial arthropods. Native flora also provides natural overwintering sites for many beneficial insects and it is useful to leave at least a small area of native vegetation undisturbed during fall and winter.
  • Some kinds of beneficial insects (e.g. lady beetles, lacewings, predatory mites) are available for purchase from commercial suppliers. However, benefits from introducing these beneficials are usually limited and short-lived. Upon release, commercially obtained lady beetles and lacewings often disperse and may rapidly leave your backyard despite the presence of prey and suitable nectar resources. Generally, it is more effective and sustainable to create a garden habitat that will be colonized by beneficials naturally.
     

Images

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Caption: Adult golden eye lacewing (Chrysopa oculata) (Chrysopidae)
Photo by: D.G. James
Caption: Green lacewing eggs (Chrysopidae)
Photo by: D.G. James
Caption: Larva of golden eyed lacewing (Chrysopa oculata) (Chrysopidae)
Photo by: D.G. James