Spring Song

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It’s raining out today, so I don’t feel overly guilty about not being out in the garden after a week of imposed bed rest.

I found these nifty images of lacewing eggs – something I’m hoping to find in our garden when I get back outside.

Green Lacewing eggs Source: GCMG

Green Lacewing eggs
Source: FSG

Lacewing larvae aren’t as pretty as their eggs, nor as their adult form, but they have the healthy appetite of most growing creatures and their favorite food is aphids. Lots of aphids. If lacewing larvae were teens, aphids would be their bowls of pasta and bags of chips.

Lacewing larvae hatching. Photo: Rupert Soskin

Lacewing larvae hatching.
Photo: Rupert Soskin

Lacewings belong to an order of net-winged insects known as Neuroptera, which contains around 6,000 species.

In the course of writing this blog, I came across the delightfully named Lacewing News. This might sound like the weekly journal of the characters in Wind in the Willows, but it is actually the newsletter of the International Association Neuropterology. Lacewings, of course.

Lacewing lifecycle Source: Lydekker, R. (1879) via Wikipedia

Lacewing lifecycle
Source: Lydekker (1879) via Wikipedia

When we first moved here many years ago, I found that our garden had a real problem with aphids. They were on everything. The garden is quite an old one, and a succession of owners had been planting randomly over at least thirty years. We found an assortment of pesticides in the garage when we moved in, and most of our neighbors are happy to spray several times a year.

We didn’t use pesticides, and for a long time, I felt like our little corner was a happy haven for bugs fleeing the spray all around, whether the bugs were good ones or not.

I’ve been re-doing the small garden over the past few years, no pesticides, simplifying the ramshackle flower beds, and over the past couple of years I’ve noticed that we had very few pests. Almost without me noticing.

Strange how we notice the presence of a nuisance but rarely its absence.

Adult green lacewing Source: LIR

Adult green lacewing
Source: LIR

Fingers crossed that this year continues the positive trend.

One last thing: Lacewings species have their own mating songs. Subtle and simple, but still, mating songs. I can’t let this rainy Monday pass without including them. You can listen to a wide variety of songs here, or click the image below.

Images of lacewing songs. Source: PBS

Images of lacewing songs patterns.
Source: PBS

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