Green Lacewing Control: Physical Characteristics, Habitat and How to Attract Green Lacewings

A general predator, green lacewing belongs to the family of Chrysopidae. There are more than 2,000 species, most of which are common in Europe and North America. Whether they are in their larval stage or even if they already fully grow into an adult, they can be beneficial in the garden as they can control and eliminate some of the most common household pests. They will provide biological control measure, which is safe and effective, unlike the use of pesticides with toxic components.

What are Green Lacewings?

Physical Characteristics

When they are in the form of eggs, the length is usually 1 millimeter with a white color and they look like filaments. Once they transform into a larva, on the other hand, they become flat and they develop an elongated body. The color usually ranges from yellow to gray and they have distinct brown markings. They will also develop protruding hairs at such point. Upon pupation, it becomes a white silken cocoon. Once it emerges into a full adult, its color becomes green. It develops a soft and slender body. Also, as the name implies, it grows transparent and fragile green wings. On average, the length of an adult green lacewing is ½ to ¾ inch.

Green Lacewings

Green Lacewings are Used in Biological Pest Control

Habitat

Green lacewings prefer to be in temperate and tropical climates. They are common not only in the garden, but also in grasslands, tropical rainforests, and swamps. They can also feed on weeds and foliage. Their habitat will depend on the specific stage of development.

Lifecycle

Their eggs are usually laid on the underside of the leaves of their host plant. When the eggs hatch into larvae, they will crawl in search for foods, and this is the time wherein they begin to kill pests in the garden. The adults, on the other hand, feed on nectars and pollen. At an early point in its adult stage, mating happens. On average, this beneficial insect will have a lifespan of up to 40 days, provided that the temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pest Consumed

The larval stage is the point at which green lacewings are most important when it comes to pest control. They are at such stage for about two weeks and within such period, it can be effective in killing up to 250 leafhopper nymphs, 400 aphids, 11,200 spider mites, and 6,500 scale eggs. As they are voracious feeders, they can eat a wide array of pests, including small caterpillars, mealybugs, thrips, and mites, among others.

Green Lacewing Larva

A Larva of Common Green Lacewing Feeding on an Aphid

How to Attract Green Lacewings

To make the most out of this beneficial insect and to yield a high level of effectiveness, the following are some of the best ways to encourage the presence of green lacewings:

  • Among others, one of the best ways to attract them is to have the right plants in the garden. Plant varieties that will attract green lacewings. With this, some of the best plants that you might want to consider having include crimson clover, fennel, bachelor’s button, alyssum, and daisies, among others. They will survive in high population if there are plants with nectar and pollen.
  • There are also natural sprays that are quick to make. One of the perfect examples of the latter is a simple mixture of sugar and water. Spray it on the garden plants, specifically on those that are prone to pest infestation. The sugar water is effective in the production of honeydew. In turn, this will attract green lacewings and will allow them to kill aphids and other insects that are present.
  • When it comes cultural control of pests, a lot of people tend to use row covers. However, if you want to attract green lacewings, it is best to get rid of the row covers especially when the plant starts to flower.
  • It is also a good idea to purchase green lacewings. Not all species are available for commercial sale. Buy Chrysoperla rufilabris only from a trusted seller. Make sure to follow the instructions on how to release the lacewings. Proper timing is also critical for the best outcomes. Lastly, be sure to determine the size of the garden to know how many green lacewings are needed.
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