Belongs to: flies

Lacewing Chrysoperia spp.


Best time to see: May to mid Sep

Key facts

Insects named after their transparent wings, useful as pest controllers because of their taste for aphids

The young (larvae) suck the juices from aphids; adults also eat aphids and other small insects

The largest group (Chrysopa) has 14 species in the UK and are green; another group has smaller, brown bodies

Recognition

Adults up to 3cm long, with bright green bodies (usually) and transparent veined wings

Young (larvae) are similar in shape to ladybird larvae, dull brown with darker spots and mottlings

Larvae are usually found moving around on vegetation, sometimes camouflaging themselves with aphid bodies or moss

Lifecycle

Females lay eggs at the end of a thin thread of silk; up to 30 eggs/day and 300 in total – more than their body weight

After gorging themselves on aphids, the larvae spin a cocoon around themselves in the soil from where they pupate

Over-winter as adults, readily using houses or artificial shelters of corrugated cardboard to hibernate

  • Main photo

Photo © Tony Gunton