Cumbernauld Living Landscape

Natural Connections - Lacewings, a gardeners friend


2nd August 2017, by Tracy Lambert

Common green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea

I recently had a visitor to my garden the other day.  A lacewing had flown in and had taken up residence on one of my plants to sleep off a busy night collecting pollen and nectar. Mainly nocturnal these insects are named due to the almost glass like transparent lacing of the wings, which rest in a tent shape over the abdomen. You might spot them on a late summer evening, weakly flitting through meadows or even your own garden plants.

There are 14 different species of green lacewing and 29 species of brown in the UK and can be seen as adults from April to August.    The most common being the green lacewing Chrysoperla carnea.

Females lay eggs on leaves suspending on a thread of hardened mucus.  Once the eggs hatch the young become veracious predators eating aphids, greenfly and other garden pests; in fact if you are a keen gardener then a lacewing may be one of your best friends. Once the larvae grow to 8mm long they spin a cocoon and pupate, emerging as beautiful delicate insects all ready to do their bit for pollination.

Common green lacewings change colour in the autumn, they turn a pinkish-brown and you might find some adults hibernating in your shed or garage.  If you spot one why not share it to our Facebook page - Cumbernauld Living Landscape

Programme leaders

Scottish Wildlife Trust   North Lanarkshire Council   Forestry Commission   Central Scotland Green Network  North Lanarkshire Council