Adult Green Lacewing

The common green lacewing (scientifically known as Chrysoperla rufilabris) is widely used in various situations to control many different pests. Many species of adult lacewings do not kill pest insects, they actually subsist on foods such as nectar, pollen and honeydew. It is their predacious offspring that get the job done.

The adult lacewing lays her eggs on foliage. Each egg is attached to the top of a hair-like filament. After a few days the eggs hatch and a tiny predatory larva emerges ready to eat the pests.

Lacewing larvae are also known as aphid lions. They are tiny upon emerging from the egg, but grow to 3/8 of an inch long.

Lacewing larvae voraciously attack their prey by seizing them with large, sucking jaws and inject a paralyzing venom. The hollow jaws then draw out the body fluids of the pest. Of all available commercial predators, this lacewing is the most voracious and has the greatest versatility for pests of field crops, orchards, and greenhouses.

Each lacewing larva will devour 200 or more pests or pest eggs a week during their two to three week developmental period. After this stage, the larvae pupate by spinning a cocoon with silken thread. Approximately five days later adult lacewings emerge to mate and repeat the life cycle. Depending on climatic conditions, the adult will live about four to six weeks.

Each adult female may deposit more than 200 eggs. For best results, habitats should be provided that encourage the adults to remain and reproduce in the release area. Nectar, pollen, and honeydew stimulate their reproductive process. If these food sources are not available, adults may disperse. An artificial diet called Wheast is available to provide the adults with the necessary nutrition they need for reproduction. Wheast  powder mixed with sugar and water is used at Beneficial Insectary to help mass-rear the lacewing. Studies by universities and the USDA have shown that spraying field crops with a Wheast/sugar/water mixture increases egg laying considerably. Lacewing adults can survive the winter in protected places but have a difficult time surviving cold winters.

Beneficial Insectary provides Green Lacewing in the following life stages:

Adults: Green Lacewing adults are sold in containers (cardboard tubes) of 100, 250 or 1,000 and should be released the day received. We do not advise refrigerating the adults. If immediate release is not possible, moisten the accompanying sponge in water and replace it. Release as soon as possible, no later than 24-hours after receipt.

Lacewing larvae are safe to humans and animals, but vigorously attack their prey. Each lacewing larva can devour 200 or more pests or pest eggs during the two- to three-week larval stage. One adult female lacewing can deposit up to 800 eggs in its four- to six-week lifespan. Proper habitat and food will encourage adults to stay in the area, continuing the Better Pest Management lifecycle. To release, remove the top screen and use a piece of cardboard to regulate the amounts released throughout the target area. The eggs already deposited in the shipping container can be released in the target area by cutting the container.

Green Lacewing Cycle

Eggs: Green Lacewing eggs are oval and pale green. Just before the larvae hatch, eggs turn gray. The eggs are shipped in vials with food and a carrier such as rice hulls, bran or vermiculite. It is best to allow a few of the lacewing larvae to begin emerging from the eggs before releasing. As soon as a few emerge, release as soon as possible to avoid cannibalism. The best time to release is early morning or late afternoon. Eggs can be stored at no lower than

50°F for up to 48 hours. To minimize egg mortality, humidity should be approximately 75%. Warmer temperatures will speed up larval emergence, but the eggs should not be held at more than 80°F. For small areas, sprinkle the contents of the container(s) over the entire target area. For large areas you may need to mix eggs with additional inert ingredients such as vermiculite, bran, saw dust, etc. to help dispersal. You may also release eggs on every other row on alternating dates. If eggs are purchased on perforated hanging cards, hang the cards, from the hole in the card, near the underside of leaves in the target area.

Pupae: Green Lacewing pupae are sold in 6 x 6-inch rearing frames of 400.

Larvae: Lacewing larvae are sold in bottles of 1,000 or 6×6 inch rearing frames containing at least 400 larvae. Both containers have

Green Lacewing Larva

a limited supply of food, so the larvae must be used as soon as possible.

Consider using green lacewing in conjunction with Trichogramma to combat pests effectively in both the egg stage and immature life stages.