green lacewing insect resting on a leaf

Green lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris). Photo: Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

Updated: April 7, 2021

Lacewings are beneficial insects in a garden

  • Lacewings are popular, commercially available beneficial insects. Green lacewings are the most common, but brown lacewings are also available. Distribute eggs or larvae evenly around infested plants to minimize cannibalism and to maximize their usefulness as biological control organisms.

  • Lacewing adults are delicate, green or brown, with small heads, and large eyes. The wings are longer than the body, transparent, with a fine network of veins, and are about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long.

  • The larvae are alligator-like in appearance, spindle shaped, yellow to brown in color, and mottled. They have spines along their sides and long curved mouthparts (mandibles).

  • Eggs of lacewings are often found in great numbers on plants infested with prey such as aphids or mites. Eggs of green lacewings are laid on the end of long, fine stalks, and are often attached to leaves or twigs.

  • Lacewings are excellent predators of aphids and other small insects.

  • Hatching larvae will eat anything they encounter, size permitting, including siblings.

  • They eat aphids, lace bugs, caterpillars, larvae of some beetles, insect eggs, and mites.

  • Ants foraging on plants are a major predator of lacewing eggs and larvae.

brown lacewing

Brown lacewing adult. Photo: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org

green lacewing egg

Green lacewing egg. Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

green lacewing larva with aphid

Lacewing larva with aphid prey. Photo: David Cappaert, Bugwood.org

adult green lacewing insect

Green lacewing adult. Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org