Lacewings are widely recognised for their role in helping reduce populations of many pest insects and mites. They are easily recognised and commonly occur in many environments including backyard gardens. These generalist predators feed on a range of pests including aphids, whiteflies, scale insects and mealybugs as well as moth eggs and small caterpillars,
Our adult lacewings are green, with four clear wings. Adult females live for three to four weeks and lay up to 600 eggs. Each egg sits on the end of a slender stalk, which elevates it from the surrounds and decreases the chances of predation by ants. The eggs take approximately four days to hatch.
Larvae range in size from 1 mm at first emergence up to 8 mm just before they pupate. They have small spines on their backs upon which they impale the remains of prey thus providing a form of camouflage. Larvae pass through three moults over a period of 12 days before pupating inside a silken cocoon. Adults emerge after nine days and start laying eggs seven days after emergence.
The education kit
This education kit is designed to help teach children and students of all ages more about insects and especially that many insects are indeed very useful and help to regulate pest populations. Lacewings are particularly good for this purpose because:
- They are attractive, relatively large, highly visible and easily recognisable
- The larvae feed readily on a range of foods including aphids or mealybugs from the garden or the supplied moth eggs
- These larvae are also very different from the adults (= holometabolous) and as such they have a true pupal stage
- Lacewings feed on many pests of backyards and gardens
- After they have completed their development the adult lacewings can be released into any backyard where they can lay eggs and continue the cycle of life
Contents of the lacewing education kit
Our education kit consists of the following:
- A 2L clear plastic jar with a ventilated lid
- 100 Lacewing eggs supplied in a separate small plastic tub
- Moth eggs that can be fed to the lacewings at the rate of a quarter teaspoon every second day (these should be stored in the freezer)
- Place contents of small plastic tub (lacewing eggs plus chaff) into 2L clear jar
- Check daily for emergence of small lacewing larvae (see images for more detail)
- Feed every second day around a quarter teaspoon of frozen moth eggs (these should be then returned to the freezer)
- If you are able to source them from your garden, an extra feed of aphids or mealybugs would be readily devoured by your new pets
- When your adult lacewings emerge after several weeks you can release them into your garden where they should lay eggs and continue the cycle
- If you wish to keep the adults indoors for a few days a feed of honey and yeast is ideal
More information about lacewings
For more information about how these important biological control agents can help visit our page on lacewings.
For your son, daughter or grandchild a handlens would also make a great complimentary gift.