Tiny tyrants of the garden realm, voracious predators of multiple garden pests. Lacewings are a terror to aphids, mites, mealy bugs, leaf-hoppers, Thrips , moth and butterfly eggs, and caterpillars.Adults feed on nectar, pollen, and aphid honeydew, but the larvae are the active predators. Adult lacewings need nectar or honeydew as food before egg laying ,they also feed on pollen and are considered “pollinators” another essential requirement for gardening.
The larvae are are best known as Aphid Lions. , and will eat between 100 and 600 aphids each. They also feed on Thrips, spider mites, Whiteflies, mealy bugs, and the eggs of most moth and caterpillar species.
Populations of Green Lacewings have been recorded as important aphid predators in potatoes, 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 both potato and eggplant. On corn, peas, cabbage, and apples, a degree of aphid control was obtained with large numbers of lacewings. Brown lacewings are somewhat smaller than their green cousins. They are also predatory, and are more common in low-growing vegetation than in trees. They have not proven to be as effective as the Green Lacewings and are not readily available.
- Control Ant populations when utilizing Lacewings. Ants actually farm Aphids and will kill their predators in much the same way a rancher will kill or chase off coyotes or wolves.
- Plants that attract lacewings are Angelica, Legumes ,Brassicas, Dandelion, Tansy, Fennel, Dill, Caraway, Coriander. Plant these along the borders. These are good places for spring releases to yield migrations of adult lacewings that will move into later plantings as well as to keep the ones you already have. Some people also recommend sunflowers , but these may present some drawbacks – see Companion Planting