Lacewing

Definition - What does Lacewing mean?

A lacewing is a delicate-looking insect with a slender body and clear, lace-like, membranous wings. These insects are considered beneficial, because larval lacewings are predators of aphids, which are tiny insects that create huge problems for gardeners as they feed by sucking the sap out of plants.

As a countermeasure and to avoid the overuse of pesticides, many gardeners buy lacewings to reduce their aphid problems. Lacewings are a popular means to control pests in integrated pest management (IPM) plans.

MaximumYield explains Lacewing

Aphids can be a devastating problem for both indoor and outdoor gardeners because they live in large colonies and can produce live young at an incredibly fast rate. Once they have infested an area, it is very hard to get rid of them. Fortunately, thanks to lacewings, organic gardeners may not have to resort to potentially harmful pesticides.

Adult lacewings are not harmful to plants, as they feed exclusively on pollen and nectar. In fact, they can play a part in the pollination process, as they fly from one plant to another to feed. In their larval stage, lacewings are also called aphid wolves or aphid lions, as they voraciously hunt and feed on aphids. A single larval lacewing can eat more than 200 aphids in a single week. And, if the aphid population drops too low for them to feed, lacewing larvae will not harm your plants but will eat other larvae instead.

Adult lacewings will lay as many as 200 eggs at a time, usually located close to an aphid colony, on the underside of a leaf. Once the larvae have hatched, they will climb off of the leaf to hunt and eat aphids. They’ll do this for two to three weeks, and then they will spin their cocoons and undergo metamorphosis to become flying adults after about five days. Then they can lay more eggs and breed more aphid-killing larvae.

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