Brown Lacewing Larva
Just another friendly aphid eating bug! I had taken this picture earlier in the summer when I noticed aphids covering my eggplant leaves. The plants didn’t look very good but I waited it out and eventually the eggplants were producing beautiful fruit and the aphids and ants were gone. It’s hard to explain everything that happens in a garden, but recently when I identified this mystery bug as a brown lacewing larva, predator of aphids, it made sense to me that these bugs may have helped to reduce aphid populations by feeding on them.
As explained in an earlier post, Garden Ecosystems, sometimes a gardener’s best defense is research and time. I like to take pictures of all of the unusual bugs and disease problems that I find in the garden. This way I can research to find out what is affecting my plants and what the best remedy may be. Often natural predators, like the lacewing, find their way into the garden to bring pest populations back into balance.
One resource that I have been using is The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control: A Complete Problem-Solving Guide to Keeping Your Garden and Yard Healthy without Chemicals. This Rodale publication is edited by Barbara W. Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley.
I am also reading Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology by Eric Grissell. This book includes excellent photographs of insects and is where I stumbled upon the brown lacewing photo which helped me identify my newest garden friend.