Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beneficial insects slide down to chow

Each white cocoon looks like a droplet of water at the end of a thin, gossamer strand. In the above photo it’s hard to see the threads that hold each green lacewing egg, Chrysoperla rufilabris, above the colony of orange aphids. The green lacewing has deposited her eggs right above breakfast. The larvae of lacewings look ugly and evil. So, as with many beneficial insect larvae, they are mistaken for a bad bug and squashed or sprayed with an insecticide – chemical or organic. It’s thought that by having each strand holding the cocoon slightly different the hatches larvae will climb down the strand at different rates. This prevents too many reaching the plant at the same time as they will eat each other as well as the aphids. Sad day when the good bugs eat each other!

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