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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Order Neuroptera

Scientific Names
Green lacewings (Chrysopidae): Chrysopa nigricornis (Burmeister), Chrysopa oculata (Say), C. carnea (Stephens)
Brown lacewings (Hemerobiidae): Hemerobius humilinus (L.).


  • Less than 1 mm in length, oval and pale
  • Laid individually or in small groups:
    • at the end of long silken stalks attached to leaves (green lacewings) or
    • without a stalk (brown lacewings)


  • Three larval instars
  • 0.6-1.2 cm in length, with a long pointed body and a mottled appearance at maturity
  • Well-developed legs and heads with large sickle-shaped mandibles
  • Some species of green lacewing larvae cover their bodies with debris for protection


  • White silken cocoon
  • Round (green lacewings) or loosely constructed (brown lacewings)


  • Up to 15 mm long
  • Green or brown
  • Long antennae, large eyes and large veined wings held roof-like over the body

Often Confused With
Ladybug larvae – mandibles are not sickle-shaped and they are striped not mottled.

Interaction With Host
Adults and larvae belonging to the brown lacewing group are predaceous generalist feeders, while only the larvae of the green lacewings feed on other insects and mites. Larvae use their mandibles and maxillae to pierce prey and suck out their body fluids. Adult green lacewings are not predaceous and require aphid honeydew and plant nectar as food prior to egg laying.

Period of Activity
Late May through early September.

Insects attacked
Lacewing larvae are voracious predators and feed on phytophagous mites, caterpillar eggs and other lacewings.

Monitoring and Management
Lacewings are active in orchards from late May until early September. Check for lacewings (eggs, larvae) by visual examination of leaves and shoots of grape. The presence of lacewings and other mite predators can delay or prevent the need of miticide applications for European red mite.

Lacewing larvae are active earlier in the season than many other predators and are good biological control agents for early season pests.

Lacewing larva (Joseph Berger, Lacewing cocoon (Joseph Berger, Bugwood.ord) Brown lacewing adult (Joseph Berger, Bugwood.ord) Lacewing larva with mites (D. Epstein, MSU) Lacewing eggs (D. Epstein, MSU) Lacewing adultClick to enlarge.