Tuesday, 16 September 2008
The gardener's friend
A welcome visitor to the trap last night. A lacewing. They are those delicate insects with long, transparent wings whose vein patterns look a little like lace and account for the name. They quite often come into the house to seek warmth at this time of year, changing their green colour to pink as the days get colder. This picture will have been one of the last things seen by countless aphids and other enemies of the diligent gardener. Lacewings are so fond of eating small pests that you can even buy them online, sometimes in mixed packs with ladybirds which do an equally good scavenging job. Lacewing larvae also eat aphids and have a nicely gruesome way of sneaking up on their prey. They disguise themselves with leftover bits of other aphids which they've just captured and eaten. Isn't Nature sweet? Click on the pic, btw, to see the lacewing's delightful face closer, plus the unexpected hairiness of ageing egg boxes. Maybe I should have a caption competition too, both for the lacewing and the other, smaller insect which is possibly being assessed as potential lunch.