Green Lacewings
Chrysoperla species

Description: Several species of lacewings are preda-tors of sorghum insect and mite pests. Adults are greenish or yellowish with delicate, lace-like wings and shining golden eyes in some species. They are soft-bodied insects about 3 /4 inch long. The alliga-tor- shaped larvae have elongated, sickle-shaped mandibles to puncture and extract body fluids from their victims. These mandibles readily distinguish them from lady beetle larvae.

Biology: Lacewings usually hibernate as pre-pupae in silken cocoons. Some may overwinter as adults. Adults emerge in the spring and lay eggs on silken stalks that project about 1 /2 inch above the surface of the leaf or stem to which they are attached. It is thought that the stalks protect the eggs from their natural enemies, particularly larvae of their own kind. Eggs hatch in about a week. Both the larval and pupal periods last 2 to 3 weeks. Larvae seek sheltered places on leaves or elsewhere and spin cocoons in which they pupate. Lacewing pupae often are mistaken for spider egg cases. A genera-tion requires about 40 days and there may be five or six generations annually in warm climates.

Prey: Lacewing larvae, called aphid lions, are among the more important beneficial insects. Larvae feed voraciously on aphids, thrips, mites, small larvae, and other soft-bodied insects or eggs.