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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery

Brown lacewings

Scientific name: Hemerobius spp.

Adult Larva Egg Pupa

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Neuroptera
Family: Hemerobiidae

Common prey: Predaceous on a wide variety of small insects

Commercially available: No

Adult brown lacewings are soft-bodied insects with four membranous wings and light brown bodies. Adults fly predominately at night and are often seen when drawn to lights. Brown lacewings are less common than green lacewings, and adults are about half the size, measuring approximately 1 cm (3/8 inch) long. Females lay their tiny, oblong eggs singly on their side onto plant tissues. Brown lacewing eggs look similar to syrphid fly eggs but are smoother and have a small protrusion on one end. Lacewings undergo complete metamorphosis with eggs hatching about 4 days after being laid and larvae developing through three instars before pupating. The larvae are creamy-brown with dark reddish-brown stripes and spots and move their heads from side to side when walking. Larvae look like tiny alligators, they are flattened, tapered at the tail, have distinct legs and prominent mandibles with which they attack their prey. Pupation occurs in loosely woven, spherical, silken cocoons attached to plants or under loose bark. Both adults and larvae prey upon a wide variety of small insects including mealybugs, psyllids, thrips, mites, whiteflies, aphids, small caterpillars, leafhoppers, and insect eggs.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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