Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Green Lace wings are a good thing

Of all the pests out there, there are actually some that are beneficial, like the Green Lacewings or Chrysoperla.
Green Lace wings are the true beauties of the beneficial insect world. Adult Green Lace wings are pale green, soft bodied, insects about one inch long with large eyes. They have four lace-like wings that make them look delicate, and fairy like. As, adults Lace wings are good pollinators for all your flowers and vegetables. They are not however, the most incredible insect predators. Adults lay pale green, oblong eggs on the ends of tiny, delicate thread like stalks, attached to leaves. The new larvae hatch in just  a few days.
The larvae of the Lace Wing’s are the most impresssive of the insect predators and are sometimes called “aphid lions”. It has been reported that they can eat up to 600 aphids, each in their lifetimes. They also control a number of other insects, including, spider mites, thrips and small caterpillars. The larvae are grey/brown, crawling insects, tapered like tiny alligators. They essentially suck the fluids from the body of their prey with large pincer like jaw protruding from the tops of their heads. Larvae are susceptible to dehydration, always needing a source of moisture. It is best to only use them in well irrigated situations. After a couple of weeks, the larvae pupate by spinning a cocoon. Five days later adult Lace wings emerge, mate and start their life cycle all over again.
Since the adults only eat nectar or honeydew or pollen, it is important to provide food for them so they will stay and lay their eggs. Plantings should include flowering plants if used around vegetable gardens. Artificial foods and honeydew substitutes are available in nurseries, garden stores and mail order sources to help feed adult lacewings. Lace wings will produce up to 3 generations per year.
Green Lace wings can be purchased commercially, through garden centers and many mail order sources. Eggs and larvae are hand sprinkled wherever aphids or other food sources are present. Care should be taken when using insecticides. Broad spectrum insecticides, either organic or man made, should never be used where Lacewings are living.

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Trees "R" Us, Inc. is a professional tree service for the Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest suburbs.  Tree trimming, tree removal, stump grinding, fertilizations, tree disease treatments and prevention as well as plant health care are just a few of our high quality, professional services.  Contact us today for a free analysis or quote at www.treesrusinc.com or at 847-913-9069.
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