Tasman Lacewing for Aphid Control

Tasman Lacewing for Aphid Control

Micromus tasmaniae - Predatory insect

Tasman Lacewings are a small predatory insect that predates on a large variety of prey including aphids, citrus whitefly and psyllids.

Tasman Lacewings are known to be useful in indoor and outdoor crops such as, capsicum, cucumber, citrus, and other ornamentals as part of an integrated pest management programme.

Tasman Lacewings are a predatory insect which as an adult grow to 7.5 - 10 mm in length. The Tasman lacewings are predatory in both the larvae and adult stages.

Known prey range in New Zealand as detailed by the Landcare Plant-SyNZ database include:

Scientific Name Common Name
Allaphis foxtonensis (Cottier, 1953) Sedge aphid
Bactericera cockerelli (Sulc, 1909) Tomato Potato Psyllid
Brachycaudus helichrysi (Kaltenbach, 1843) Leafcurl plum aphid
Brevicoryne brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758) Cabbage aphid
Cavariella aegopodii (Scopoli, 1763) Carrot aphid
Elatobium abietinum (Walker, 1849) Spruce aphid
Eriosoma lanigerum (Hausmann, 1802) Woolly apple aphid
Eulachnus brevipilosus (Borner, 1940) Pine aphid
Melanostoma fasciatum (Macquart, 1850) Small hoverfly
Metopolophium dirhodum (Walker, 1849) Rose grain aphid
Micromyzella filicis (Van der Groot, 1917) Green fern aphid
Myzus ornatus (Laing, 1932) Ornate aphid
Neophyllaphis totarae (Cottier, 1953) Totara aphid
Orchamoplatus citri (Takahashi, 1940) Australian citrus whitefly
Phenacoccus graminicola (Leonardi, 1908) Grass mealybug
Pineus boerneri (Annand, 1928) Pine woolly aphid
Pineus pini (Macquart, 1819) Pine adelgid
Pseudococcidae sp.
Rhopalosiphum padi (L., 1758) Cereal aphid
Toxoptera aurantii (Boyer de Fonscolombe, 1841) Black citrus aphid
Trioza vitreoradiata (Maskell, 1879) Pittosporum psyllid
Neotoxoptera formosana Onion Aphid
IMG 0082fixed 1

The pest: whitefly (left) & the solution: Encarsia (right)

unnamed 1

Normal whitefly pupa (white) and parasitized pupa (black). An adult Encarsia will emerge from the black scale(right)

The Pest: Aphids

Many different species of aphid are present in New Zealand. Some species are quite specific to particular crops, while other species infest a wide range of crops.

Aphids are soft-bodied insects that have globular bodies, long thin legs and antennae. Adult body length is normally 2-3 mm, and colour varies from pale yellow, green to dark brown or black. Some forms have wings and they can disperse rapidly.

Under optimum conditions, the life cycle of an aphid can be completed in 10-12 days. Many species reproduce asexually, and therefore populations can build up very rapidly.

Aphids feed with piercing-sucking mouthparts and can cause stunting and distortion, especially to younger leaves. Aphids are often plant virus vectors, and therefore rapid and effective control is essential to minimize crop losses.

Symptoms and signs of aphids include:

  • Stunting and distortion of the leaves and flowers

  • Yellowing and wilting of leaves

  • Honey dew and sooty mould present on the plants

  • Aphids visible on the stem, leaves and flower buds

Life Cycle

The adults are brown with two pairs of wings that cover their bodies. They have small heads with large black compound eyes and long antennae that are held out in front. The first larva stage is approximately 1.8 mm long and will grow to 7 - 9 mm within 7 days. Once a larva has matured it will form a pupa cocoon for around 10 days before emerging as an adult. The lifespan can range from 50 to 140 days depending on temperature and prey availability.

Environmental Conditions

Tasman lacewings are best suited to temperatures above 5C, below this temperature threshold the young life stages will take additional time to develop.


Tasman Lacewings are dispatched as eggs on a cloth packed in a box, and sent via courier.

Application Rates

  • 1-5 Tasman Lacewings eggs per m2 as a moderate CURATIVE measure, over several weeks as aphids are found in the crop

  • Heavier infestations of aphids can benefit from the simultaneous release of Aphidius, or may require initial chemical intervention (contact Bioforce to discuss).

Release and Storage Instructions

Tasman Lacewings need the following handling and treatment:

On arrival, release Tasman Lacewings into the crop as soon as possible Do not expose Tasman Lacewings to direct sunlight DO NOT REFRIGERATE Release Tasman Lacewings near an aphid 'hot spot', and then evenly distribute the eggs throughout the area requiring treatment

Post Release

Tasman Lacewings will start predating aphids after hatching. The larval and adult life stages are both predatory.

Before introducing Tasman Lacewings into your crop please check residual chemical affects and ensure you know chemical compatibilities of products that may be applied.

A list of compatible pesticides and withholding periods can be found in the publication 'The Good Bug Book' Second Edition (2002), Editor Richard Llewellyn. Excerpts of the book can be obtained from the Tasman Lacewing page of the Australasian Biological Control Association website, click here then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the PDF link.