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Lacewings, One of The Good Guy
July 08, 2019
Th heat is on.
Oppressive humidity along with the heat, keeps us northern sissies inside with the AC going.
more than I care to be.
In my younger days, it wasn't a big issue.
Independence Day celebration and a Patterson family gathering were good for all of us.
Even in the heat.
Brandy and Snickers evening walks have been cut short this past week.
Those two, like siblings they can play and fight.
When it comes to sleep, they can be like two peas in a pod.
Even after sleeping all night, after a potty break they need to flop.
Sleeping must be real hard work for them.
Fireflies have been around for the past two weeks, bringing life to the nighttime.
Young, fledged Birds and little furry critters, keep the yard hopping during the day.
The tree swallows have fledged, these birds are on the wing, never returning with parents to forage.
Parent orioles have been bringing their young to the grape jelly feeders.
I miss the activity the parents provide from early April to late June.
I missed it last week.
Make sure you clean feeders and water sources.
Bacteria and insect larvae grow fast in the summer heat.
Sickness can spread, and we all know about mosquitoes and the issue they can bring.
I understand there were some issues with The link on butterflies last week.
Hopefully that is taken care of, go ahead and try A Butterfly's World. again.
This week I touch a bit on one of my favorite good bugs.
I’ve touched on this before, some of the bad guys in the insect community and 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 real 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.
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.
To help them avoid the echolocation ultrasound clicks of bats, these insects 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 carcass behind.
Often called the aphid lion, as they are such voracious feeders.
You may notice the powerful pincers and sucking tools on this larvae.
Larvae grow from 1 mm to 6-8 mm.
Habitat (Crops) and prey:
(Larvae with 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.
Pesticides are general killers, they kill off anything.
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.
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 season.
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.
I consider it a treat when I see an adult lacewing lounging around my gardens.
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 off Lacewings and other beneficial insects, not just the bad guys.
A side note on chemicals:
Insects eventually develop 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.
If we let nature do what God intended, that delicate balance would exist.
Stop the chemicals and nature will return to what nature does best.
Who cares if we have a few chewed leaves or miner damage, we all are healthier by allowing nature to take its course.
I maintain that nature is so much like God, very forgiving when given the chance.
Because young larvae are susceptible to desiccation, 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.”
Do you remember those times?
Simple faith, love, happiness, creativity, forgiveness, no walls in the way, no taught hate towards others.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
"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,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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