Lacewings are often overlooked for dragonflies and butterflies, but though they are smaller I think they are just as pretty and helpful as these two more popular insects. Their wings are clear and veined, often iridescent, looking like a shimmery net floating above the insect. Lacewings eat different things during different stages of their life cycle, so they cover both the pollination and pest management side of things. Their life cycle has at least as extreme of a change, perhaps even more so, than that of a butterfly.
Lacewings are insects in the family Chrysopidae. They have four distinct life stages. The eggs are laid on slender stalks that keep them off the surface of the leaf. The larvae resemble tiny alligators and eat constantly, sucking dry 30-50 aphids per day. They cover themselves with the dead husks for camouflage. After three or four weeks they make cocoons and become pupa. The adult lacewings become pollinators when they emerge, and lay up to a hundred eggs on their favorite plants like cosmos, dill, sunflower, carrots or dandelions. Farmers and gardeners value them highly as both a natural pest control and helpful pollinators.
OISAT. “Lacewing.” Www.Oisat.org, PAN Germany,
www.oisat.org/control_methods/natural_enemies/predators/lacewing.html. Accessed 24 Nov. 2020