Lacewing adults aren’t the ones protecting your garden: It’s their larvae that are voracious predators of aphids and other pests.
Lacewings are found throughout North America; some species are also sold commercially.
Larvae feed on aphids, thrips, mealybugs, scales, moth eggs, small caterpillars, other soft-bodied insects, and also mites. The adults usually are not predators.
Adults are delicate, green or brown insects, 1?2 to 3?4 inch long, with small heads and large eyes. Their wings are transparent and covered with a network of fine veins. Larvae are spindleshaped, mottled yellow or brown, with tubercles (small, knobbly protuberances) on their sides and large, curved mandibles (mouthparts); they resemble tiny alligators. Eggs are laid on tips of fine stalks.
Getting Them on Your Side
` Plant pollen and nectar flowers to attract adults. ` Let some flowering weeds grow between garden plants. ` Provide a water source during dry weather. ` When using purchased lacewings, distribute the eggs widely throughout the garden; larvae are cannibalistic when crowded. A minimum order of 500 to 1,000 eggs is sufficient for the average garden.