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Lacewings

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Lacewings

Lacewings Adult lacewings have 2 pairs of wings and chewing mouthparts. They also have long, thin bodies, and resemble dragonflies.

Lacewings

Lacewing


but lacewings hold their wings over their backs when they are not flying: dragonflies are unable to fold their wings over their bodies. As the name suggests, the wings of these insects are lace-like, with a dense network of veins and cross veins.


Lacewings There are two common families of lacewings in green lacewings (family Chrysopidae) and brown lacewings (family Hemerobiidae). Other than color, they are very similar in appearance. Green and brown lacewings are in the order Neuroptera, which also include snakeflies, mantidflies, and other insects. Like all insects, lacewings have 3 body parts, 1 pair of antennae, and 6 legs. Lacewing larvae resemble small caterpillars, but move more quickly, have longer legs, and have long, sickle-shaped mouthparts. SIZE: Body length of adult lacewings up to 1" long, larvae up to 1/2".


Habitat: Lacewings are common throughout most of Australia and can be found in almost all habitats. They are common on native vegetation, such as flowering eucalyptus and in suburban gardens and homes. Many lacewings such as the green lacewings (Chrysopidae) are often attracted to lights at night and will release a strong smelling liquid when disturbed.


Life Cycle: Lacewings go through complete metamorphosis (egg,larva, pupa, adult) and have at least two generations per year. The life cycle takes about 4 weeks depending on temperature. A female lacewing can deposit over 200 eggs. In 4 to 5 days, the eggs will hatch into small alligator-like larvae.


Lacewings Eggs

Lacewings Eggs

Lacewing larvae are brownish and can have dark reddish-brown stripes and spots . They have large jaws for grasping prey and injecting a paralyzing venom. Lacewing larvae, sometimes called aphid lions, typically feed on soft-bodied insects such as aphids,mealy bugs, thrips, mites, leaf hoppers, whiteflies,caterpillars, other immature insects, and sometimes each other.


The larvae develop three instars in 2 to 3 weeks, and are 9.5 mm long when full grown. Larvae will spin a silken pale cocoon that is loosely attached to foliage. During the pupal stage they develop wings and reproductive organs.


After 5 to 7 days the adult will emerge from the cocoon and begin to mate. Adult lacewings have chewing mouthparts, are about 18-19 mm long, and feed mostly on nectar and pollen. They can survive for about 5 to 6 weeks and are considered weak flyers. Lacewings are often found in crops highly infested with aphids, such as sweet corn, potatoes, cole crops, tomatoes,peppers, eggplants, asparagus, leafy greens, apples, strawberries, and alfalfa. Adults are also highly attracted to lights at night.


How to Promote Lacewings Start with using as many different native plants as you can. Try to incorporate native flowering plants in addition to the fancy varieties.


Lacewings larvae

Leafminers larvae

Plan for nectar and pollen availability all summer long. Seek out plants that have long-lived blooms so that adult natural enemies always have access to food. Consider using flowers that bloom at different times of the year for continuous pollen production.


Natural enemies might initially be attracted to an area because of the available pollen and nectar, but will not necessarily stay. In general, predatory insects like to reproduce and generate offspring near a generous food supply of other insects. For example, lacewings like to lay their eggs on plants that are infested with aphids because it ensures the offspring will have food to eat when they hatch into larvae.


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