Green/Brown Lacewings

General Description

Both Green and brown lacewings are found in BC orchards. Lacewing adults move from uncultivated vegetation into orchards. Preserving unsprayed vegetation near orchards will help augment their population. Eggs of green lacewings (Chrysopa spp.) are commercially available for mass release.


Larvae of green and brown lacewings feed on aphids, pear psylla, mites, mealybugs, thrips.


Lacewings do not cause any damage but help control insects and mites that do.


Egg - Green lacewing; oval, green or white, suspended on a long hair-like stalk (Fig. 1). Brown lacewing; pink or white, no stalk.

Figure 1. Green lacewing eggs. (H. Philip)


Larva - Both green and brown lacewing larva are alligator shaped with sickle-like mandibles (Figs. 2, 3). Larva of brown lacewings moves its head from side to side while walking.

Figure 2. Newly hatched lacewing larva. (H. Philip)     Figure 3. Mature green lacewing larva feeding on an aphid. (M. Dolinski)


Adult - Green lacewing; green with gold markings, wing lace-like, size 15 – 20 mm long (Fig. 4). Brown lacewings; beige or dark green, wings lace-like and covered with hairs, size 10 – 12 mm long.

Figure 4. Adult green lacewing.


Life History

Depending on the species, lacewings overwinter as adults or pupae. Adults emerge in early spring, disperse, and reproduction continues throughout the summer. Up to four generations are produced per year depending on temperature.


Examine aphid- or psylla-infested leaves and shoots for feeding larvae or use limb taps. It is best to sample active adults in the cool morning hours.