Green Lacewings are garden friends
Like the Ladybug, the larva of the Lacewing is even more efficient at pest control than the adult. In fact, some species are predators only in the larval form, the adult lacewing feeding on nectar, honeydew and pollen. Predatorial lacewings in both stages of growth will consume many times their weight in aphids, mites, mealybugs, whiteflies and other insect pests. The Lacewing adult is a delicate green insect with smoothly rounded transparent wings outlined and veined green. The larva is usually a pale to medium brown color with tiny black or dark brown markings.
You’ll be more likely to notice the adult green lacewing at night when it is attracted to the light from electric bulbs. Sometimes I’ll find them taking a nap on a window screen. These delicate looking insects are definitely friends to your garden so treat them with respect. I must admit one larva proved its voracious habits by trying to take a bite out of my hand some time ago. I was surprised at the sting the little critter caused, but it left no damage. Since then, I’ve decided it is better to let these insects feed on my garden pests instead of me.
Although it is less well known than the popular Ladybug, the Green Lacewing is equally welcome in the garden. The larval form even looks a little like a light-colored form of the Ladybug larvae, both immature insect forms resembling little alligators.
So, if you see either the adult forms or the larvae of the Green Lacewing (Chrysopidae) in your garden, let it go to work. These insects can help keep your garden free of troublesome insect pests. Keeping a close eye on your good insects will help you make better choices when it comes to using a lot of insecticides in your garden — especially with edible plants.
Don’t confuse these garden pals with the destructive Lacebug (Tingidae). The Green Lacewing looks entirely different. The Lacebug has a triangular shape and textured, glass-like wings. The latter is a pest that will suck juices from woody plants and is decidedly not a friend!