Lacewings are flying insects approximately 12mm (½") long, with green bodies and delicate green lacy wings which lie folded on their back when at rest.
The adults are slow flying generally nocturnal insects, but often seen during daylight hours, that feed on honey, pollen, and nectar, which they need to build up stamina to reproduce.
They are active from May to August when they breed after which, they hibernate for the winter.
Female lacewings lay strands of mucus covered eggs on the stems of plants.
The larvae of the lacewing has six legs and is up to 12mm (½")long, and is an extremely effective predator of greenfly, thrips and spider mites.
They seize their prey then puncture it with their long sickle shaped jaws, it then injects a paralyzing venom into it, and sucks out the body fluids.
As a means of defence,it sometimes camouflages itself by placing the dead aphid skin on its bristly back.
A single insect can consume 100-600 aphids in its lifetime.
If natural adult lacewings are not around, larvae can be purchased from mail order suppliers.
It is recommended to use purchased Lacewing larvae in greenhouses or conservatories, although spot treatments outdoors are possible when temperatures are above 12°C (54°F)