Friday, June 8, 2012

Lacewing larvae

Lacewings are beneficial insects, right?  Well...that depends on the circumstance in my opinion.  I was definitely thinking that they were NOT beneficial when one of the little boogers BIT me!

Lacewing larvae.  Photo by Bart Drees.
It happened a few weeks ago when hubby, the boy and I were playing outside on the swingset.  The boy discovered the lacewing and asked what it was.  I plucked it off the playset and was holding it to show him, while explaining that they were so good because they helped to eat insects that feed on our plants.  It began to crawl up my arm as I explained (maybe that's the problem....explaining too much to a 3 year old) and that's when it happened.  I felt a sharp prick and in my surprise the larvae fell into the grass.  My arm turned instantly pink in the area.  While it didn't feel the best, it wasn't excruciating pain, it didn't last long and my pink mark lasted maybe an hour or so before fading.  I would guess that most people, if bitten, wouldn't even get the pink mark, but I have really sensitive skin and even something that is simple for most, like mosquito bites, turn into huge pinkish welts that last for a long time.

So, the moral of the story is....lacewing larvae are beneficial when they are eating unwanted insects such as aphids, not when they bite you!

If you are interested in learning more about beneficial insects, please attend my seminar next Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 9AM.  It will be held at the Travis County Extension Office at 1600-B Smith Road Austin, TX 78721.

I'll also be speaking the next day (June 14, 2012) from 10AM-12PM on Insect Pest Suppression Methods for Vegetables and Ornamentals.  That presentation will also be at the Extension office.

I do want to point out some other posts that you may find interesting.  Mike Merchant wrote an interesting post on tarantulas and their courtship.  Since I know many of you love it when you see tarantulas, you should check it out.  I've also been getting some calls recently about areas with high numbers of walkingsticks.  Molly Keck wrote a great post about walkingsticks that you can check out if you've been finding them lately.  And lastly, I would like to welcome my colleague Paul Nester to the world of blogging.  He recently started a blog about fire ants that you can check out for more information.


katina said...

I had one of those buggers bite me, too. Only in my case, it had fallen into my hair when I was outside and started biting me when I was inside taking the P.E. exam. it's always great to be taking an exam when one begins to freak out about being bitten.

LindaCTG said...

Wow! Maybe it thought you were a mighty big aphid! And thanks for all these great links.

Anonymous said...

I have been bitten repeatedly all summer; and the red welt turns into a deep, burning itch about 10-12 hours after the bite, and this itch/welt lasts well over a week!!! Has this happened to anyone else?

Anonymous said...

I am also a victim of these. I myst have an allergy because I get big, itchy welts that last for days. They get me all summer long too. Whenever it's nice out.