What is: Aphid Lions

Aphid lions, also known as lacewing larvae, are predatory insects that belong to the family Chrysopidae. These small, green insects are highly effective natural enemies of aphids, which are plant-sucking pests that can cause significant damage to crops and gardens. Aphid lions are voracious predators, feeding on aphids and other soft-bodied insects, making them valuable allies in natural pest control.

Physical Characteristics

Aphid lions are small insects, typically measuring around 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length. They have elongated bodies with a pale green coloration, which helps them blend in with foliage. Their bodies are covered in fine hairs, giving them a fuzzy appearance. Aphid lions have large, bulging eyes and long, slender mandibles that they use to capture and consume their prey.

Habitat and Distribution

Aphid lions can be found in various habitats, including gardens, agricultural fields, and natural landscapes. They are widely distributed across the world, with different species adapted to different regions and climates. These insects are most commonly found in temperate and tropical regions, where aphid populations are abundant. Aphid lions are also known to inhabit urban areas, where they can help control aphid infestations on ornamental plants.

Life Cycle

Aphid lions undergo complete metamorphosis, which means they go through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The adult lacewings lay their eggs on plant leaves or stems, often near aphid colonies. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae emerge and begin their predatory behavior. The larvae are the most active and voracious stage of the aphid lion’s life cycle, feeding on aphids and other small insects for several weeks. After reaching maturity, the larvae spin silken cocoons and enter the pupal stage. Finally, adult lacewings emerge from the pupae, ready to mate and continue the life cycle.

Feeding Behavior

Aphid lions are known for their voracious appetite and efficient hunting techniques. They primarily feed on aphids, but they are also known to consume other soft-bodied insects, such as mites, thrips, and small caterpillars. The larvae have specialized mandibles that allow them to pierce the bodies of their prey and extract their fluids. They are capable of consuming a large number of aphids in a short period, making them valuable for controlling aphid populations in agricultural and horticultural settings.

Benefits in Pest Control

Aphid lions play a crucial role in natural pest control by preying on aphids and other plant-sucking insects. Aphids are notorious pests that can cause significant damage to crops, gardens, and ornamental plants. They reproduce rapidly and can quickly infest plants, sucking out their sap and causing stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and even plant death. By feeding on aphids, aphid lions help to keep their populations in check, reducing the need for chemical pesticides and promoting a healthier, more balanced ecosystem.

Conservation and Management

Conserving aphid lions and promoting their presence in agricultural and horticultural systems can be beneficial for sustainable pest management. To attract aphid lions to your garden or farm, it is important to provide suitable habitats and food sources. Planting a diverse range of flowering plants can attract lacewings and other beneficial insects that serve as their prey. Avoiding the use of broad-spectrum pesticides is also crucial, as these can harm aphid lions and other beneficial insects. Integrated pest management practices that prioritize biological control methods can help maintain a healthy balance between pests and their natural enemies.


In conclusion, aphid lions are powerful allies in natural pest control, particularly in managing aphid populations. These small, green insects are highly effective predators, feeding on aphids and other soft-bodied insects. Their voracious appetite and efficient hunting techniques make them valuable in agricultural, horticultural, and garden settings. By conserving and promoting the presence of aphid lions, we can reduce the reliance on chemical pesticides and create a more sustainable and balanced ecosystem.