Antlion lacewing







Doodlebugs in Nth America


The adults are commonly called antlion lacewings although it is the larvae that is the antlion. The adult is very similar to the damsel fly , but the lacewing has very dark, obvious antennae and their wing patterns differ. This lacewing is not a very good flyer. The larvae can grow to 10 mm and are a brownish colour which matches the sandy soils they hide in. The barrel-shaped antlion has immense jaws.

Adult size: up to 40 mm

Out and about

As they can remain in the larval form for a long time I would expect them to be around all year. Adults will only be seen in the evenings. Eggs can be found summer to early autumn. They live in dry, protected spots such as under our carport. There are around 250 species of these lacewings found worldwide. They are most common in arid and semiarid regions but we have them in our area which is sub-tropical.

Reproduction and Life cycle

The female lays single eggs in the sandy soil. The antlion pupates in the soil and emerges as an adult. It can take a long time for the larvae to become an adult as its development depends entirely on its food supply. They can live for months without food and this sometimes means it could be anything up to several years before pupation. The larvae go through a number of instars before pupating. The larvae pupate in a spherical cocoon which combines its silken thread with sand and may be found buried a few centimetres in the soil.

To deter

To control

Plants to repel

Plants to attract

Alyssum / Angelica / Caraway / Carrot / Coriander / Daisy family (Coreopsis) / Dill / Fennel / Heather / Oleander / Queen Anne’s lace / Red and white cosmos (Bipinnatus) / Tansy / Yellow yarrow


Why they are Beneficial
Most adult lacewings are predatory but they also feed on nectar and pollen. The larvae make small pits in sandy or loose soil. These pits have very steep sides and when anything falls into it, it is impossible for them to escape up the slope. The antlion waits just below the surface. They will eat practically whatever falls into its pit, which is primarily ants (hence their name). They inject venom into their prey and suck up the body fluids.