Lacewing Marathoners

Lacewing larvae feeding on Aphid (Photo © Rincon Vitova Insectaries, Inc.)

Lacewing larvae feeding on Aphid (Photo © Rincon Vitova Insectaries, Inc.)

An efficient green lacewing larva might consume 350 aphids, 11,200 spider mites or 3,780 scale crawlers! They are good at cleaning up eggs and young larvae of many beetles and caterpillars, mealybugs, whiteflies, thrips, leafhoppers and more without wasting time eating the whole thing. They drink the juice and toss away the exoskeleton terminating the prey before moving on. They compete in endurance as well, walking seven miles as larvae. Launch these hungry long-distance runners in pest hotspots.

To sustain these general predators, first control ants by baiting their runs or turn mounds inside out. Then cultivate habitat for beneficials. Corn stalks and sunflowers when shaken at dusk in the peak of bloom will send lacewing fluttering overhead. Borders of alfalfa and oilseed Brassicas, Beneficial Blend or Insecta-Flora seed mixes support lacewing and other natural enemies.

For more info, check out our Lacewing Bulletin on at rinconvitova.com.

This article originally appeared in our Biocontrol Beat Winter 2008 Newsletter.

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