Above: An adult green lacewing. Lacewing larvae, not adults, are used in biocontrol. UF/IFAS entomology and nematology photo.
Before a green lacewing gets its large delicate wings, it starts off as a larva. These larvae hatch from eggs the female lacewing lays near aphid colonies. This location is no accident. When the eggs hatch, the larvae that emerge become eating machines, attacking pests such as aphids, scale insects, whiteflies and more. The larvae get help from their sickle-shaped mouth-parts, which they use to capture prey and suck out the contents of their bodies.
Their appetite for bad bugs makes them very useful in controlling these pests.
More green lacewing facts:
- There are 22 species of green lacewings found in Florida. Green lacewings belong to the Chrysopidae family.
- Though both green lacewings and lady bugs feed on aphids, green lacewings only eat aphids while they are larva. Lady bugs eat aphids throughout their adult life.
- Lacewings can be intentionally introduced to help control pests. Farmers and gardeners can order them through the mail.
- Another type of lacewing found in Florida, the brown lacewing, preys on pest during both its larval and adult stages.
Learn more about green lacewings and see pictures of larvae at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in965.