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Beneficial inscects, Lacewings
July 06, 2009

What a blessed week last week was for me.

God is good.

I may go into this more some other time.

I hope you enjoyed your Holiday, whether it was Canada day or Independence day.

We spent the 4TH at the lake with the our oldest daughter and the grand kids as well as Karen's mom, followed by Fireworks.

A bit cooler than normal, but it was still a day to celebrate.

(American Painted Lady Butterfly)

What a goofy year weather wise.

Upper 90's one week and some low 60's the following week.

Low 60's

In July...........

Parts of Michigan never got above 50 for July 1ST.

Yes, some of us even had some record lows last week.

The cooler temperatures are great on the AC and keep some flowers blooming longer, but many veggies are suffering from the lack of heat.

Speaking of suffering.

If you've been with me long enough, you know I try to explain that even organics are chemicals, and proper portions need to be used.

Even water is a chemical (H2O) that can kill when not used properly.

Well, I need to listen to my own advice more often.

This past week, I noticed some Powdery mildew starting up on some cucumber plants.

I decided I would break out some baking soda and water and spray away.

Expired baking soda and no recipe in front of me.........................

What harm can a little extra baking soda do to a pickle plant.

Let me tell you................................

Most of the foliage is burned and within one day (if I had a picture, I would show you).

I'm talking brown foliage within one day of contact.

The plants will survive, but took a severe set back.


Because I was to lazy and didn't listen to myself.

Organics and natural gardening can be harmful

Now let that be a lesson to you,.

I learned from my poor decision and wont do that again.

What a bountiful year for wildlife, especially the birds.

I have never experienced this many Northern cardinals this time of year and the American robins are always a blessing.

Some time next week the House wrens will fledge.

I'll clean out the house and they will start over.

I forgot to mention last week on the importance of keeping feeders clean and getting on a cleaning schedule of at least every 30 days.

The first of the month works for me, as it is an automatic reminder for me.

Just like the first of the month is a reminder for Heart worm stuff for the fur kids.

Last week I mentioned how birds will spread out and pant to help stay cool.

Another one of God's unique ways to help our feathered friends is this.

Birds legs are scaly.

There are no pores so they can't perspire.

What birds can do with is increase the blood flow through the legs and this recirculates the air cooled blood back through, much like the radiator on your car will do to keep your engine from over heating.

Elephants do the same thing with their ears.

So far so good on the turtle nest surviving any kind of a raid.

Keet (one of the fur kids) found a bunny nest in the field this past week.

I managed to keep her away from it.

Even though we have more than enough Cotton Tails around here, it isn't my style, nor is it a "nature" thing to do to let your dog have at it.

Maybe I'm an Old Softy.


Sometimes, we need to be coaxed and even prodded.

I'm here to do both.

I have about 6 replies on summer favorites.

Now I could do a short letter on that, however you guys always come through when I coax prod or even plead for more interaction from you.

I know, you're busy.

You may be thinking..........

What could you possibly write on that some one else hasn't mentioned.

And a dozen other excuses.

Who cares if someone mentions the same thing.

Who cares if it is only a couple of sentences.

Who cares that it may not sound like much.

Who cares.

I'm not the world's most eloquent writer, I'm me.

I enjoy sharing and teaching, almost as much as I love to learn.

If I'm doing that, then I'm good with that.

Jot down a favorite thing or two about summer.

Swimming, first harvests, flowers, butterflies, fishing, relaxing etc.

You can even let me know if a summer favorite is checking out chicks in bikini's or dudes in their Speedos.

If that is something you look forward to then let's hear it.

Just forward this letter back with your

First name

City or region

State or Province

I don't use last names for obvious reasons.

Remember, this is your letter and you can be a part of it.

I'm going to do the favorites in another week or two, depending on how it goes.

Now here is this week's main topic.


Iíve written before about some of the bad guys in the insect community and the past couple of weeks and in times past I've written on some of the good guys.

You may think the world is full of bad insects, but that isn't the case.

Just as it is with people, the bad guys are in the minority.

In fact, less than 10% of the entire insect population actually causes any damage at all.

We've created the monster with fears and with all our chemicals that upset the balance of nature.

Well, today I have another good bug for you.

The Lacewing.

Common Green Lacewing ( Chrysoperla carnea)

There are around 1600 species of lacewing in the world.

They can vary quite a lot is size, from a wingspan of less than 1/2 inch to 2 inches (1 - 5 cm).

They are mainly nocturnal and are preyed on by bats, but to help them avoid the echolocation ultrasound clicks of bats they have ultrasound sensors in their wings.

As with all insects (good and bad) they are also food for other insects, birds, lizards and other predators.

Green lacewings are common in much of North America.

Adults feed only on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew, but their larvae are active predators.

Green Lacewings occur in a wide range of habitats throughout the U.S., and Canada and may be more useful in areas where humidity tends to be high (greenhouses, irrigated crops, southeastern and midwestern U.S.).


Adult green lacewings are pale green, about 12-20 mm long, with long antennae and bright, golden eyes.

They have large, transparent, pale green wings and a delicate body.

Adults are active fliers, particularly during the evening and night and have a characteristic, fluttering flight.

Oval shaped eggs are laid singly at the end of long silken stalks and are pale green, turning gray in several days.

The larvae, which are very active, are gray or brownish and alligator-like with well-developed legs and large pincers with which they suck the body fluids from prey, leaving just the carcus behind.

Often called the aphid lion.

Notice the powerful pincers and sucking tools on this larvae.

Larvae grow from 1 mm to 6-8 mm.

Habitat (Crops) and prey:

If you have a garden, you will find Lacewings in Cotton, sweet corn, potatoes, cole crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, asparagus, leafy greens, apples, strawberries, and other crops infested by aphids.

You will find them patrolling roses, pine, spruce and other plants where prey is common

Here is what may be on the lacewing larvae menu:

Several species of aphids, spider mites (especially red mites), thrips, whiteflies, eggs of leafhoppers, moths, and leafminers, small caterpillars, beetle larvae, and the tobacco budworm are reported prey.

They are considered an important predator of long-tailed mealybug in greenhouses and interior plantscapes.

Life Cycle:

Green lacewings overwinter as adults, usually in leaf litter at the edge of fields (another reason to keep some leaf litter).

During the spring and summer, females lay several hundred small (<1 mm) eggs on leaves or twigs in the vicinity of prey.

(Lacewing eggs to your lower right.)

The larvae emerge in 3-6 days.

The larval stage has three instars and lasts two to three weeks.

For newbies, instars or stages are like molting or shedding skin so the larvae can continue to grow.

Mature third instars spin round, parchment-like, silken cocoons usually in hidden places on plants.

Emergence of the adults occurs in 10 to 14 days.

The life cycle (under 4 weeks in summer conditions) is heavily influenced by temperature.

There may be two to several generations per year, so you have a supply of these good insects throughout the growing

Relative Effectiveness:

These lacewing larvae are considered generalist beneficials but are best known as aphid predators.

The larvae are sometimes called aphid lions, and have been reported to eat between 100 and 600 aphids each, although they may have difficulty finding prey in crops with hairy or sticky leaves.

Natural populations of Lacewings have been recorded as important aphid predators in potatoes, but mass releases of lacewings have yet to be evaluated against aphids in commercial potato production.

In small scale experiments outside the United States, lacewings achieved various levels of control of aphids on pepper, potato, tomato, and eggplant, and have been used against Colorado potato beetle on potato and eggplant.

On corn, peas, cabbage, and apples, some degree of aphid control was obtained but only with large numbers of lacewings.

Research shows mass releases of Green Lacewings in a Texas cotton field trial reduced bollworm infestation by 96%.

Although more recent studies show that Lacewing predation on other predators can disrupt cotton aphid control.

The North Carolina State University Center for IPM considers it an important natural enemy of long-tailed mealybug, one of the 5 most important pests of NC interiorscapes.

Several strains of Lacewings occur in North America.

Matching of the proper strain to specific pest management situations is desirable.

Can Lacewings help in your yard and gardens?

I think the answer is a resounding yes.

Not to mention the food they offer your birds, bats and other critters that make up "Nature's" life cycle.

Pesticide Susceptibility:

Lacewings appear to have some natural tolerance to several chemical insecticides although there may be considerable variation.

Populations tolerant of pyrethroids, organophosphates, and carbaryl have been selected in the laboratory.

However, by and large, the use of chemicals will kill of Lacewings and other beneficials, not just the bad guys.

A side note on chemicals:

Insects eventually develope a tolerance or immunity to chemicals.

Now we must use more and stronger toxins for the same effect and this creates an unbalance in nature, and think of all the pesticides that end up in our food and water.

By letting nature do what God intended, there will be that delicate balance.

Who cares if we have a few chewed leaves or miner damage, we all are healthier by allowing nature to take its course.


Because young larvae are susceptible to dessication, they may need a source of moisture.

Adult lacewings need nectar or honeydew as food before egg laying and they also feed on pollen.

Therefore, plantings should include flowering plants, and a low level of aphids should be tolerated.

Artificial foods and honeydew substitutes are available commercially and have been used to enhance the number and activity of adult lacewings.

These products may provide sufficient nutrients to promote egg laying, but they cannot counter the dispersal behavior of newly emerged adult lacewings.

Next time you see one of these good looking insects in your gardens, thank it for working so hard for you.

Well, It's time to fly for now.

But before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

"The child has much to teach us about the sense of wonder and infinite possibility, the capacity for forgiveness. When we were young, we didn't need a road map, compass or timepiece. The miraculous was our reality."

Cristina Carlino

, you must read this one over a couple of times and mull it over.

It is so powerful, I can't do it proper justice.

Children can teach us, yet we are the ones that keep telling them no and they can't do that.

Yes, I understand part of saying no is so the child doesn't hurt or kill them self.

Yet, we must be careful not to squelch the sense of wonder and possibilities that are natural in a young mind.

Kinds don't understand the impossible so they achive it or figure out a way.

You want to encourage the infinite capacity they still have (with guidence).

Allow you children to march to a different beat.

Many of us lost our creative thoughts growing up because we were put down or shut up.

Even the simplest thing like telling a child to color within the lines is shutting down creativity.

Can you imagine that unforgiveness is a taught or learned process.

How often do you see little kids fighting and 10 minutes later they are playing like nothing ever happened.

Kids know how to work things out, how to forgive and never say a word.

I can recall several times as a young boy, having fights with siblings and friends.

Walking away, possibly saying a few mean things and before I know it, we playing again or back at your friends house.

Now look at us.

We tell our kids and grand kids you can't do that,

You will never be able to do that.

You're a Patterson, we don't act that way, etc.

Instead, we need to encourage our young or help guide them so they don't get hurt to bad.

Let your kids and grand kids skin a few knees.

Allow them to color out of the lines (they may see something you don't).

You don't have to tell them they are the best, but you can tell them with more practice or study you can become the best.


Look at yourself.......................

What do you see?

Do you see a child within?

Come on, look harder.........

You know that boy or girl is in there waiting to be released.

So why not let the inner child be free?

Free to create, love, play, imagine the impossibilities.

Lose the timepiece, and compass.

Be the person you were created to be, not the person others wanted you to be.

Be yourself.

Be the beautiful person God wanted you to be.

The Bible talks about having a child like faith.

Jesus said to let the little children come to him and unless you have the faith of a child, you cannot enter Heaven.



Simple faith, love, happiness, creativity, forgiveness, no walls in the way, believe.

We are to loose man made law and all the don'ts

Be the possibility you were intended to be.

Okay, now you can smile and dress down.


Dress Down.

Loose the stuffed shirt attitudes.

The I can't do it.

The Blame game and More.

Smile and show the child within.

Create, forgive, love........

All the things we've been told that are impossible...................

Just might be possible with you with the child like faith.

Start with that smile.

Share it and watch the possibilities grow.

You have to make the move.

I am.

Until next time my friend.

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can recieve their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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