Pests & Predators, Ep 15: Aphid milkshakes — green lacewing’s fave

(John Gavloski/Supplied)

If your idea of a beneficial insect is one that sits back and waits for dinner to crawl on by, you’ve likely never heard about the secret lives of lacewings.

Green lacewings are nothing short of ferocious, and, as Dr. Tyler Wist of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada explains, they’re more like aphid-hunting lions than laid-back snackers.

In this episode of the Pests & Predators podcast, brought to you by Field Heroes, Wist explains — in great detail — how lacewings seek out, attack, and consuming aphids, a destructive pest of many field crops.

Lacewing larvae, with their dangerous mandibles, actually create “aphid milkshakes” by injecting their prey with a digestive enzyme that liquifies their innards. The lacewings suck the slurry out and leave a literal shell of its victim behind. Talk about aggressive!

Lacewings also have big appetites, consuming from 100 to 250 aphids per day in the third instar stage and can be an effective check for increasing pest aphid populations.

How do you protect lacewings? How do you know you have an active population of this friend in the field? Wist explains all in the podcast episode below:

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