Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Garden Fairies

Our horticulture agent in the office calls green lacewings "garden fairies". I love this name for them, because its very fitting. Green lacewings are a beneficial insect, and by far, my favorite. This time of year, they seem to be everywhere. Shake a tree, and they come fluttering out. Look out your window at night and they are stuck to the screen.

Green lacewings are beautiful, lime green, small insects, as adults. As larvae, they are ferocious predators and eat nearly a nything that crawls in front of them. The adults are somewhat predacious, but its their larvae that do the majority of the good in your garden.

In fact, they are so predacious that the mothers have to lay their eggs on stalks, so that they do not eat each other when the first one hatches. Many people think the stalks are mold or fungus growing on the plant, but if you see them, let them be! Its hard to know if they have hatched, they are so small.

Larvae are smaller than ladybeetle larvae, but shaped similarly. They are green to brown in color, and very active little movers. You normally don't see the larva, you see the adults and eggs, which means you have to have the babies around your landscape somewhere.

Enjoy the garden fairies this fall! They are like little good luck charms eating away at the bad bugs in your garden!

(Photos by Molly Keck and Bart Drees, Texas AgriLife Extension)