Eco-warrior wall of fame: Lacewings
Dynamite comes in a small package with these extraordinary helpers. They are excellent additions to the garden for pest control and prevention. Adults feed on pollen, nectar, and honeydew, while the larvae are active predators of soft-bodied pests such as aphids, thrips, whitefly, leafhoppers, spider mites and larvae, caterpillars, nymphs, mealybugs and more! After feasting for 2-3 weeks, lacewing larvae spin a cocoon and emerge as adults 10-14 days later. After such a carnivorous upbringing, adults lacewings are converted to veganism, enjoying nectar and helping us by pollinating crops.
- Known also as aphid lions or wolves, lacewings can gobble up to 100 nasty aphids in a day.
- Grey lacewing larvae are super smart oaks! They camouflage by carrying devoured prey carcasses on their backs.
- Adult lacewings have ears at the base of their wings, allowing them to hear bats’ echolocation signals. They avoid being eaten by closing their wings and appearing smaller.
- Lacewing larvae kill their prey by injecting lethal digestive juices into their meal, dissolving their insides, and then providing our hero with a nutritious, sappige smoothie – lekker!
Welcome lacewings by
- Planting indigenous.
- Offering a variety of pollen and nectar-rich flowers to choose from (suggestions below).
- Learn how to identify them to avoid accidental harm to these heroes.
- Providing a safe hibernation home during the winter, such as log piles and dense hedges (check out our Hedge-tech article here for inspiration that’s shearously worth it).
Plants for critters that guard the garden
Lacewings, butterflies, birds, bees, and ladybugs will all come to work when adding these sweet additions to the garden now:
- Wild dagga
- September bush
- Pentas lanceolata
- Star jasmine
- Flowering hibiscus
- Nasturtiums are highly recommended to make your garden come alive.
Did you know?
Frogs in the garden are fantastic solutions for insect control and are actually a sign that your backyard ecosystem is well balanced. A visit from a few friendly frogs is not only an exciting sight for kids, but they are superb pest controllers and their benefits far outweigh their sliminess.
A frog’s feast in paradise
Froggies love snaking on bugs, beetles, caterpillars, cutworms, grasshoppers, grubs, slugs, and other critters that threaten your precious garden. A single frog can eat over 100 insects in a single night! All the more reason to ditch the chemical pesticides and simply let Mother Nature get to work with a few frog ninjas! A frog paradise is easy: Indigenous plants, a freshwater source, and goggas to eat! A few upside-down pots, slightly lifted at an angle, provides the ideal home for a frog family.
Happy frog, happy garden
Every backyard ecosystem has multiple living species, which all create a unique little food chain, while also supporting the larger circle of life in your area. The food chain is what keeps the balance in nature and what maintains life as we know it. As such, frogs too have their place under the sun and should be protected. They are excellent biological monitors and will quickly show you if something is off balance in the garden.
If they are happily singing and breeding in the area, your ecosystem should be A-okay. If your frog friends suddenly go missing and leave your garden, you will certainly be alerted that something is not right and needs your attention.
So long chemical pest control and hello friendly frog ninjas! Put these guys to work in the backyard and enjoy Mother Nature’s complimentary gogga gobbler.