One of the most popular beneficial insects used for biological control is the green lacewing (Chrysopa sp.), sometimes referred to as the greenhouse lacewing. The adult lacewing is 112 to 314" in length with a slender body and long delicate green wings. Eggs are deposited in clusters on thin stalks, usually on the underside of leaves.
The lacewing larvae is 6-10 mm long and yellowish gray with brown markings. It has long, sickle-shaped mouth parts used to pierce its prey and suck out the body fluids. At the end of the larval stage, the lacewing completes its metamorphosis by pupating in a silken cocoon on the underside of a leaf. The life cycle is about a month and there can be from one to ten generations a year depending on climate and other conditions.
In the larval stage, lacewings are known as aphid lions because of their voracious appetite for aphids. They also feed on other small soft bodied insects such as white flies and mites and various larvae and eggs of other insects. As adults, they continue to feed on insects, but also require such foods as honeydew and nectar.
KUNAFIN packs the lacewing eggs and larvae in a heat sealed breathable bag with rice hulls for protection and an ample supply of "bug chow" to sustain them while in shipment. Application or distribution of the lacewings in field crops is quite simple. In small gardens, the mixture of rice hulls and insect larvae eggs can be broadcast by hand. Aerial application can be used for distribution over large fields.
Combined applications of lacewings in conjunction with other beneficials such as trichogramma wasps can effect a viable pest control program. It is important to note that lacewings alone are not the complete answer to pest control. Lacewings are an effective tool when used in conjunction with other naturally occurring beneficial insects. Any sound pest management program requires continuous attention to detail and good professional advice.