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green lace wing

Chrysoperla rufilabris

Description:

A 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. Lacewing larvae feed on many different pest insects. In general, they attack the eggs and the immature stages of most soft-bodied pests such as: aphids, thrips, spider mites, sweet potato & greenhouse whitefly, mealybugs, leafhoppers, and the eggs and caterpillars of most pest moths. When targeting caterpillars, lacewing used in conjunction with Trichogramma wasps can be very effective. Since Trichogramma attack only the egg stage, the lacewing offers a second line of defense; it feeds on eggs and young caterpillars.

Notes:

While depending on species and environmental conditions, some green lacewings will eat only about 150 prey items in their entire life, in other cases 100 aphids will be eaten in a single week. Thus, in several countries, millions of such voracious Chrysopidae are reared for sale as biological control agents of insect and mite pests in agriculture and gardens. They are distributed as eggs, since as noted above they are highly aggressive and cannibalistic in confined quarters; the eggs hatch in the field. Their performance is variable; thus, there is a lot of interest in further research to improve the use of green lacewings as biological pest control. Species that have hitherto attracted wider study and are more or less readily available as captive-bred eggs to deposit out for hatching in pest-infested plant cultures are several members of Chrysoperla as well as Mallada signatus

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2 Comments

Tamir
Tamir 10 years ago

about how large was this?

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 10 years ago

lovely.

SusanEllison
Spotted by
SusanEllison

Houston, Texas, USA

Spotted on Jan 23, 2012
Submitted on Jan 23, 2012

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