Getting to Know Him
First thing that I want you to note is that the green lacewing is a beneficial insect. You want to have him in your garden because he eats the bad bugs in your garden that plague you.
The lacewing is a very efficient creature and he helps us in the garden. He is green with golden eyes and 12-20 mm long. He has transparent wings and flies at night. The larvae is so effective at controlling aphids he is sometimes referred to as an aphid lion as he eats 100 to 600 aphids.
What Insects Does the Lacewing Eat?
When the lacewing is at the larva stage (pictured below) he starts out at <1 mm and grows up to 8 mm long. The lacewing larva not only has large jaws to catch his prey but he injects venom into his prey. At that stage he eats many soft bodies insects such as aphids, mites, whiteflies, thrips, mealy bugs, caterpillars, moths, leaf miners, beetle larvae, tobacco budworm, and other small immature insects.
Did You See Her Eggs?
Thee eggs of a green lacewing are a very unique thing. The other day I went to pick peas in the garden and there were two eggs on a pea. Needless to say the pea stayed in the garden waiting for hatching as I write this article. The eggs are a light green turning to grey and they are on a 1/2 inch stalk or hair like filament, as you can see above. I was so excited to see them in the garden! The female will usually lay the eggs where there is a small supply of aphids so that there is food for her young. The female lacewings feed off of the honeydew from aphids before she lays her eggs. Adult lacewings feed off of pollen from many plants.
The crops that you will find them in the garden are apples, asparagus, cole crops, cotton, eggplants, sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, strawberries, and any crops infested by aphids.
Keeping the Lacewing Around
One thing to keep in mind is that the lacewing need moisture so you may need to supplement moisture for you little friends if your garden dries out. Plant the following for the lacewing adult and other beneficials to have nourishment and hang out in your garden. A strip or row is alway a good idea. Carrot family (caraway, Queen Anne’s lace, tansy, dill, angelica), sunflower family (coreopsis, cosmos, sunflowers, dandelion, goldenrod), buckwheat, corn, holly leaf cherry, flowering bottle tree, soapbark tree.