Lacewings are best known as a predator of aphids, and fully deserve the nickname "aphid lion" as a single insect can consume 100-600 aphids in its lifetime.
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How much do I need?
When to use
How to use
Lacewings, Chrysoperla Carnea, are common flying insects about 12 - 15mm with green bodies and lovely delicate green lacy wings which lie folded on their back when at rest. The adults eat only honey, pollen, and nectar, which they need to reproduce. Adults hibernate over winter, and breed in the summer. The first larvae to emerge are brown, about 4mm long, with sharp nipping claws at the front (beware!). The older larvae are paler, about 13mm long, with bristles on their back.
Lacewings appear to be the answer to every conservatory owner’s prayer: the larvae are voracious eaters and devour quantities of greenfly, red spider mite, whitefly eggs, mealybug, scale insect, thrips and caterpillars! They are also tolerant of low levels of pesticide residue, and are naturally occurring in the UK, so if they escape they are useful to your garden and the general environment.
They will feed on pollen when no insect prey is available. The only disadvantages are that they will generally fly off when they hatch into adults; and they will eat beneficial insects as well as pests.
To give you an idea of their appetites, during its 2-3 week life, one lone lacewing larva can eat 300-400 aphids, 11,200 spider mites, or 3780 scale insects! With 70 of these in your greenhouse or conservatory, they can make a huge difference.
10 larvae per 1 square metre, if pest is still present repeat after 2-3 weeks.
Only use when Aphids are present. Lacewings are not killed off by cool temperatures, but their life cycle is significantly slowed up, which may mean that pest populations greatly increase in the time the Lacewing eggs take to hatch when temperatures are low. As with most biological controls, the best range is 15 - 30°C, and temperatures above 30°C will be detrimental to their effectiveness. At 22°C, the eggs take one week to hatch; at 15°C they take 2 weeks to hatch, and at 28°C only a few days.
Very gently rotate and roll the shaker tub to evenly distribute the lacewing larvae amongst the carrier. Sprinkle the contents of the tube on to lower leaves of affected plants or into small paper cones placed amongst the leaves. A cut up egg box makes a perfect carrier!