Lacewings are an important part of the garden ecosystem, as their larvae (often known as aphid lions) are voracious predators of aphids.
With that in mind, it’s well worth making garden habitats for them. This lacewing home will provide a retreat for overwintering adults, so they will be on hand to tackle any early infestations come spring.
You Will Need
- Recycled plastic bottle
- Stick around 1cm in diameter from the garden
- Sheet of old cardboard
Cut the bottom end off your plastic bottle.
Use scissors to poke two holes either side of the hole you’ve just created, in the end of the bottle.
Roll up your cardboard and insert it into the bottle. If it’s too long to fit in the bottle, trim a bit off and try again.
Stop the cardboard falling out the end by poking the stick through both holes, holding the cardboard in place.
Tie string around the lip just below the lid of your bottle, then hang from a shrub or tree in the garden – even better if it’s one that suffers from pest damage.
- Mated female lacewings emerge from winter hibernation in spring
- Once prey are located, the female lays eggs nearby that are held individually on the end of a hardened mucus thread
- After around five days the eggs hatch and larvae seek out prey to eat and moult as they grow larger
- After a further 15-20 days, the larvae are fully grown and create cocoons in which to pupate
- Within two weeks the adults hatch, mate and start the cycle again – several generations in a year are possible