The lacewing larvae! So have you ever carried yourself down next to a tree trunk, only to notice little bits of lichen or the bark is walking by itself? Lol, probably thought you were insane right.
If you have ever noticed little pieces of stick-like creatures walking about on the tree trunk, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. You have found none other than the debris-carrying lacewing larvae also known as the junk bug.
What are the Facts About the Lacewing Larvae?
These insects are the larvae or immature stage of the elegant lacewing. Being carnivores, they camouflage themselves up and hunt among the trunks of trees and open bushes and plants by sweeping their heads back and forth, as they search for food.
Their main food items are aphids and leaf scales. And as you might know, those insects are often guarded by ants who tend to them like shepherds. Periodically, they will take little bits of debris and stick them on their backs.
They do this to disguise themselves and sometimes even take the hollow corpses of their discarded meals and stick them to their backs (imagine if mammals did that). The dead remains of their prey help camouflage them and more importantly cover up their skin and make them smell just like the flak disguising them from the ants.
Well, that gives a new meaning to the word skin now doesn’t it? It also protects them from predators. It is kind of fun to watch them adorn themselves. They just grab that debris or the discarded remains of their last meal and stick it on their back.
Now, we were able to view one from its underside placed on a piece of glass. You should also try it out if you are opportune to come across one. From this view, there is definitely an immature lacewing underneath all that debris.
These creatures look rather ferocious for being so small, don’t they? You can guess those formidable mandibles are for a grim purpose: snatching up and devouring their prey. The mandibles are hollow and used by sweeping their heads back and forth.
Once they happen across prey, they quickly grab hold of them and inject powerful enzymes into their bodies. Within 90 seconds the insides are totally dissolved and the lacewing larvae will begin to suck out the insides of the unfortunate insect.
These insects somewhat look like moving lichens and you can see them walking about with their head sweeping back and forth. The mandibles sticking out from the underside are a dead giveaway (no pun intended).
Not sure why, but during our research, we noticed their number has increased during the last couple of years. Alongside this, the spotted lanternfly trees seem to have a lot of spot lanternflies on them.
These trees seem to have more of these lacewing larvae as well. We are not really sure what the connection is yet but will notify you in one of our upcoming articles.
Read also: Do Bed Bugs Have Wings? Bed Bugs Movement
Where To Buy Lacewing Larvae From?
Natural biological control agents such as green lacewings are effective against a variety of pests including aphids, whiteflies, spider mite larvae, thrips, whiteflies, mealybugs, caterpillars, and other soft-bodied insects. These vicious creatures are inexhaustible in our midst.
Using the little hanging bags provided, place the rice hulls and lacewing egg mixture into the bags and hang them where the infestation is. In order to avoid rain and sun damage, place the plant in an area that is well-shaded.
Insects known as “Soldiers” or “Green Lacewings” are able to thrive in a wide range of growth conditions. It is possible to use Green Lacewings both indoors and outdoors.
You can find them in orchards, nurseries greenhouses grow rooms, and hydroponics! Green lacewings don’t migrate, thus they’re the finest value for your money.
You can definitely buy these bugs @Amazon
Have you been finding it difficult to find this insect (the lacewing larvae)? well, you probably have not been hunting the right way.
They are probably all around you and you just do not know it. Try finding trees that have moss and lichen growing on them, or better yet find spots with a lot of filth and we are sure you will find immature lacewing larvae at some point.
Well, there you have it. These little monsters are kind of amazing, aren’t they? Thank you for reading, and if you enjoyed reading this don’t fail to share it with a friend. Happy Hunting!