Lacewings are considered one of our most beneficial insects. They are predators to unwanted aphids and some caterpillars. We consider them beautiful and friendly.
But you don't want to get bitten by one of these.
This is the lacewing larva. It looks fierce, and it is.
Don't let its tiny size fool you! The lacewing mouth parts are used to pierce and suck body juices out of prey. Before sucking, they inject special saliva containing enzymes the help to pre-digest their prey.
That's all well and good when their prey is an aphid sucking the juice out of my plants. It is not OK when it is biting me!
I have seen these tiny larva before and I think I have been bitten by one before. I know they are nasty, and when they show up on my patio table I shudder and squish them. I think they fall out of the overhead trees, where they are supposed to be eating bugs. I never knew what they were before, but this time, after being bitten, I did some research.
No, these little guys are not aggressive to humans, don't scurry around stinging like bees. But it they are provokes, watch out. I think mine was pressed under the neck of my tee shirt.
I felt something on the back of my neck last week while sitting at the patio table. I felt a sting and reached back to swat what I was sure was another mosquito. They have been bad since the August rain storm. But I felt something squish and knew it wasn't a mosquito.
The bite itched and stung and I treated it like a mosquito bite - I had been getting several a day until I gave up being outside. But then the bite got big and red and hot and swollen and formed a small blister, which soon popped. The itching and burning were intense and the inflamed area was at least four inches across. I used cold packs to settle it down when I could, but it was a busy weekend.
The information says most people have a small bump that itches for a day or so. But then my mosquito bites itch for most of a week, so obviously I react strongly to these critter bites.
It has been six days now and the bite is finally settling down, with just an occasional twinge of itching. The swelling has gone down and the blister has scabbed over and is drying up. What a relief. That thing has plagued me.
So, lovely lacewing, keep your babies away from me. You are not my friend.