Adult Green Lace Wing bite
Location: Texas
April 12, 2011 8:52 pm
I have a question about the green lacewing. I know the larvae can have a nasty bite, but I know that I was bitten by an adult. I was bitten a few years ago but I remember it clearly. I was outside when it landed on my hand. I tried to shake it off, but it crawled up to my finger and bit it. I smacked at it and it flew away. I showed my dad and he killed it while it was sitting on a wall. The bite lasted for about half an hour,was swollen and red, and felt like a very strong pinch. after that time, it only itched badly for about an hour. I need to know why an adult woul bite, and how because I have always heard they are harmless but they obviously are not. Thanks!
Signature: any way

Green Lacewing

Dear any way,
We have never heard of an adult Lacewing biting someone, but since they are predators and their young, known as Aphid Lions, are notorious little buggers that frequently bite the unwary, we do not doubt that Lacewings might bite.  Thanks for providing such first hand knowledge of the short term affects of the bite of the Golden Eye, another wonderfully descriptive name.

Update:  We stand corrected
October 16, 2011
Thanks to the numerous comments of our readership, we concede.  It seems adult Lacewings can bite, though we maintain the bite is an annoyance and of no danger to humans.

123 Responses to Alleged Lacewing Bite

  1. echoorcutt says:

    I was bitten on the leg by a green lacewing this evening on my patio. I felt the bite, then grabbed it about 8 seconds later. The bite was not necessarily painful, similair to a small ant bite…but a bite nonetheless. I have always beleived these insects harmless, but feel otherwise now. I have never had a mosquito bite, nor a bee sting. I am not especially prone to bites, so this was EXTREMELY surprising to me. I will say that these green lacewings are a quite a bit larger than I have seen in the past, which gives me some concern. Thoughts, concerns?

    • bugman says:

      In our opinion, even though a Lacewing might bite a human, the bite is not dangerous, nor do we believe the bite to be intentional on the part of the Lacewing. Many insects will bite when carelessly handled, or when accidentally encountered, and since very few insects actually possess any venom, these bites are nothing more than a slight annoyance.

    • Glitter Girl says:

      I was bitten by a green lacewing before and at first I didn’t know it was there then I looked at my arm and I saw it and smacked it off and ran inside to look it up and then I felt the bite it didn’t hurt much and it only felt like a tiny pinch and that is the story of me bitten by a green lacewing .

  2. Bug_Girl says:

    I too have experienced the bite of a green lacewing on more than one occasion. The bites I have received hurt and itch and were more than a “slight annoyance”. I had to laugh when I read, “Many insects will bite when carelessly handled, or when accidentally encountered”. In what category would you put SITTING at night, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature? BTW, they also have a horrible odor. I found this out the first time I was bit and inadvertently slapped (squished) the poor little thing.

    This site is great. My 5 year old daughter has been fascinated with bugs since birth (or so it seems) and loves when she can identify a bug she has found.

  3. The green lacewing here in central California is a vicious little stinker! It will send grown men screaming to safety. We leave them alone as they provide wonderful pest control – even after I developed an allergy to them last year!
    And, yes, they do attack for no reason at all!

    • bugman says:

      Dear notbuggedatall,
      Interestingly, while on the way to work today, Daniel felt a sting on his wrist and looked down to find a minuscule Lacewing Larva in the vicinity. Since he was driving and did not want to blow the larva out onto the road, Daniel drove to his destination as the Lacewing Larva bit a second time. A burning sensation lasted a few minutes and that was followed by a raised bump, slightly smaller than a mosquito bite, that lasted a few additional hours.

  4. warbi says:

    I too have been bitten by an adult lacewing. The bite is a sharp pain like a pin prick or an injection, but tht is all it does to me. Of course, I also don’t get bumps from mosquito bites so it may just be me. What is really annoying is that a person’s first rection is to slap at the bite. When you crush them or even annoy them enough, they release a very foul smell.

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for your comment.

    • Tam says:

      My bite was very painful. I would prefer a bee sting. It also seemed to go out its way to attack me. When I swatted at it I was charged. Two adults have been doing this for three nights now. I find it way more then an inconvenience.

  5. rae says:

    I live in southeastern New Mexico. I have intermittently been finding bites on my legs when I wear shorts outside at night in our pecan orchard. Last night I slapped something biting me and it was an adult lacewing. I had previously noticed I would only receive bites if I had used a pomegranate scented soap, and I used that same soap for the first time in a few months yesterday. I think the lacewings are attracted to it as they were practically swarming me at dusk yesterday when I was bitten. Tonight I am out by the orchard with my iPad and a few lacewings have been attracted to it’s light, but no bites tonight; probably because I didn’t use fruit scented soap today. Nonetheless, I am glad to have the lacewings. Our pecan trees have plenty of aphids to keep them busy!

    • bugman says:

      We have long suspected that cosmetic products attract certain bees and wasps, but the Lacewing attracting properties of fruit scented soap is a new one for us. Thanks for the insight.

  6. whattheheckisthat says:

    Thank gosh for this website! I did a bit of surfing only to discover something like “lacewings are harmless to humans” or “lacewings do not bite humans” on every other site, many of them being academic… Hmmm. Anyway, I live on an almond ranch in northern California and have most of my life. I learned early on that these things do bite and do so quite frequently. In the past 20 years I’ve observed these little critters casually fluttering around me on summer nights. I quickly learned that they do this just prior to casually landing on me and then casually biting me. I say “casually” because it never seems to be direct or hurried attack like that of a mosquito. In fact, a very casual, slow-motion swat at one causes it to casually leave(last time a say “casual,” I promis). And, as someone else pointed out, they really stink! I learned not to squish then about five seconds after I learned they bite, again some 20 odd years ago. In keeping with their (cough)type of demeanor, I’ve found that should one make a successful landing all I have to do to get rid of it permanently if blow on it. I’m no expert on lacewings, but I will say that it’s gotten to the point that I readily distinguish the difference between a lacewing biting and a mosquito biting on the back of my neck based simply on sensation. Only one ever receives a slap, for smell is far worse than the bite.

    • bugman says:

      Your observations, casual or otherwise, are much appreciated. We imagine that living on an almond ranch, you appreciate the appetites that Lacewings have for Aphids. We were at first skeptical about the reports that Lacewings bite, and we like your assessment that the bites on humans are not premeditated since they have nothing to do with feeding. Though they seem to bite more than we originally thought, we still maintain that they are harmless to humans, though it also seems that it is possible to be allergic to just about anything, and some folk might have a hypersensitivity to the bites of Lacewings.

  7. Michelle says:

    Looking this up, finding this page because..I’m getting bit by these! My kids are laughing at me. They think I’m crazy, but they do bite! Central Ca. Pretty bugs..and aphids are a problem around here, so I’m going to steer clear and let them be..but dang…it is a more intense bit than a mosquito, no reaction to it..just a bit shocking for a second.
    I’m so glad I found this site and now I can take my IPad over there and make my kids read it! I’m not crazy..they bite!

    Thanks so much!

    • bugman says:

      You are not crazy. Our editorial staff knows firsthand that Lacewing Larvae bite, and in our case, there was a small swelling like a mosquito bite that lasted some time.

      • Whattheheckisthat says:

        I believe we are not talking larvae. Those little ‘aligators’ are great biters. It’s the beautiful, fluttery adults that I am currently batting away daily. They are still biting . My GF can attest to that(she has not learned to spot them or hear them yet).

        • bugman says:

          We were quite surprised to learn that some people reported being bitten by the adult Lacewings as well. Thanks for the clarification.

          • charlotte says:

            have been getting bitten by these nasty bugs went for an evening stroll and got bitten 3 times last evening . have a bite on my hand that is itching and swollen been 4 days and no sign of going away. Neighbour has been bitten a couple times this summer also . nasty bites !!

  8. Champ says:

    I live in Central Washington. The adult lacewings swarm my screen door and, if they get in the house, me. They never bother my husband… just me… maybe there’s something to be said about cosmetics… but the adults bite, it hurts, it’s casual, and they REEK when you swat one… I was looking for sites like this forever because everywhere else says the adults are harmless… ok so I wasn’t harmed… not physically… maybe just a little hurt feelings 🙂

  9. yf says:

    Not only do the adults bite, their bites HURT! I dread evenings outside in summer, and if one gets in the house I’m screaming for someone to kill it! We’re in SE WA and they hang out in the hops fields by our house.

  10. StillStingingInCentralCA says:

    Thanks for a great site!!!!

    I was sitting outside, enjoying the cooling evening air, reading my kindle (black screen, white lettering) in the dark, when the back of my thigh felt like a HOT, SHARP NEEDLE had pierced me! I reached down, slapped and grabbed and came up with an adult lacewing. Body 1/2″ long, with 4 wings about 3/4″ long. I grabbed the little stinker about an hour ago, and my thigh feels like it’s on fire.

    Only fair to say, I am bug candy. If there is a bug that could possibly ever bite within 5 miles of me, it will find me and have a great meal. And while the bug has its meal and goes to tell all about it, I’ll be fighting the skin infection for weeks. Ahhhh, glad I can keep the insect population in Central CA very happy.

  11. Milan says:

    So glad I found this, I was just outside walking my dog when I felt a sting on my inner forearm. I thought it was a mosquito but it was an insect I didn’t recognize. Found this while searching for it to see what bit me, what reaction to expect and to see what that horrible smell was!! So nasty and does not come off easily. Good to know it’s harmless so I’ll know for next time, this one didn’t survive but that gross smell did!

  12. eva says:

    O.K. so I too am apparently allergic to lacewing bites – they turn red and itch, and last for days. And those buggers are so small they come through the screen holes. The New York City variety of green lacewings don’t seem to smell, by the way. My questions: WHAT KILLS GREEN LACEWINGS? WHAT REPELS GREEN LACEWINGS? HOW CAN I GET RID OF THEM?

    • bugman says:

      We do not give extermination advice, especially for native, beneficial insects.

    • Melissa says:

      Eva, I have the same reaction, although it is to the lacewing larvae; I have yet to be bitten by an adult. But the bite from the larvae is simply miserable. It produces quite a fierce stinging sensation when it is biting, and then hours later it begins to itch FIERCELY. I get a nice big bump similar to a mosquito bite, but I react far worse to the lacewing larvae bite. It itches on and off for days, literally, and the itch goes very deep – I feel like I need to somehow scratch the bone underneath to get to it! I would rather have 10 mosquito bites than ONE lacewing larvae bite… that’s how bad it is for me.

    • Lynn says:

      I am no expert but we have a terrible aphid and gnat problem here in Savannah, GA. These little guys do bite and it does hurt. I’m mildly allergic, but I’ve found that Benedryl’s anti-itch cream works just as well for their bits as mosquito bites. You may have to apply it twice but that stuff even worked on a jelly fish sting, no lie!

      As an avid camper and outdoors person I suggest anyone allergic to any sort of bug bite should invest in a tube.

      Sorry I don’t know a way to get rid of them but as I understand they are great at getting rid of bug problems… so you might want to keep them around.

  13. eva says:

    Yes, please notify me of following comments via email.

  14. eva says:

    I do understand and appreciate that you do not give extermination advice for beneficial species. But, surely there is some scent that will repel green lacewings – that is, some essential oil perhaps, that I can spray on my screens or on me that will turn them away. Do you know what that is?

    • bugman says:

      We do not know of anything that will specifically target Lacewings and will be effective in repelling them.

  15. whattheheckisthat says:

    Lacewings should be far to large to fit through any standard household screen(save hardware cloth or something of similar sort). The critters in question may not be lacewings. Regardless, try teatree oil(Melaleuca). You can also try various other extracts including, peppermint, nettle, tobacco spit, etc.

  16. Eva says:

    The biters that fit through my screens sure look like green lacewings, eyes and all, just that they’re small. Maybe the babies? Anyway, changed to yellow (anti)bug bulbs for the duration, changed to a peppermint glycerin soap and spray my screens periodically with water diluted peppermint and neem oils to which I occasionally add crushed fresh garlic. BUT, most important, when I was bitten and swelled and itching for two weeks, I applied and reapplied fresh aloe vea gel from a houseplant. What a relief! Jus takes away the itch and works for any insect bite. We also have an infestation of biting asiam lady bugs in NYC. My remedies are the same as for the lacewings. So far so good.

    • Merry Willingham says:

      I, too, have a problem with being bitten by all bugs. I have a severe reaction to mosquitos. It appears the same thing is connected to the lacewings. The bites appear as small raised bumps which itch like crazy; by the next day they are small blisters with large area of swelling. At least they were until I found Chigger-ex. Smells great & gives immediate relief from itching. I do however have the blisters for days.

      • Jessica Winget- Goff says:

        Me too! I’ve been loosing my mind trying to figure out what has been biting me. I don’t feel the initial bite. But when I wake in the morning they are hard raised terribly itchy bites. We have literally gone through hell trying to find the culprit. My husband and I sit on our back deck most nights and relax, after ripping our house apart several times terrified it was bed bugs and having exterminators out we got flash lights and found the eggs all over the bottom and creases of our swinging bench. Now that I have identified the eggs I realize a see them flying around often. My husband and I must be very allergic. Always get bit on the back of legs from knees up to buttocks. Bites last for at least s week with intense burning and itching. Also I live in Georgia US

  17. Cheryl says:

    A number of years ago, while living in upstate NY during the late summer, one of my cats came in from being out in the evening humidity and had a green lacewing (adult) on its back. Thinking they were harmless, I removed it gently and it jumped on my forearm and holy smokes that sucker bit me and it hurt like crazy! I assume I had an allergic reaction, because not unlike another poster reported, I had severe swelling and a burning feeling that was very unpleasant. This bite was on par with a hornet sting…..and it stayed with me for a day or two. It was definetly an adult lacewing…..I am wary of the buggers since then!

  18. ADAM says:

    I am a resident of Utah, and have been searching to find out about these lacewings. I have been bitten, at least, twice by them (unexpectedly). Once, I put my finger towards one’s head, and it purposely attempted to use its mouthparts in what seemed like a feeding manner (it merely attempted to bite that time). The bites were painful enough, and did seem to itch for a while.

    The things can jump quite significantly, and I first assumed they were a relative of grasshoppers and the like- my being unfamiliar with lacewings and their relatives. Very interesting insects. When I pointed my finger towards it, it seemed to react in a very deliberate- and I’d say intelligent- manner.

    The color of the lacewings I’ve seen, particularly one, seemed to be of a more yellow color. In each of these instances, I refrained from killing them, largely due to their interesting and unusual manner. They do have a beauty to them.

  19. Jo says:

    I live in Hamilton, New Zealand and I was bitten by a whole bunch of green flying bugs that look like Green lacewings. They were tiny as. I was mowing my lawns and they were in the tree that I was mowing under. My hands went numb and tingly for about an hour. Im so afraid that they will attack me again. I’ve never had this problem before. I really hope it was a one off.

  20. Rosemary says:

    Being bit by a small bug I did not recognize, I took picture with my phone and did some internet research and it seems to be the green lacewing larvae. I live in southern California. It was a pleasant (not hot, not cold) afternoon and I was sitting outside reading. The bite was slightly painful, similar to a mosquito and itched for a few minutes. There is a small red spot on my forearm, similar to a mosquito but smaller, that has lasted a few days. My experience seems similar to that of others. Thanks for your website!

  21. Liz says:

    Sitting in my Florida room tonight ( Lakeland, FL), I had my first encounter with this small, green biter – I felt the bite, swatted my thigh and found a tiny, green bug on the floor. The bite burned and does look like a small mosquito bite. Wondering what the heck this neon green insect was and whether I had reason to be concerned about the bite, I Googled “small, green biting bug” and found your site. Thanks for this valuable info, as others have stated some sites advise that this guy does not bite but I can attest that it certainly does! It’s been about a half an hour and the bite is a round, white welt surrounded by red skin. Hopefully, this is as bad as it gets, I learned something new tonight – I can now identify a Green Lacewing and they earned a spot on my list of bugs that I do not like!

  22. James says:

    Last night I was lying in bed watching TV when I felt an itch on my foot; much like a mosquito bite. I woke up this morning with two bites one smaller and one larger and they were itching. I put creme on it for the itch. I was a little nervous as it is not mosquito season. I recently returned from a trip and immediately feared “Bed Bug”. I came home and shook my comforter. I found an adult Lacewing in my bed. Culprit? I assume.

  23. Teresa says:

    I am so glad I found this site. I live in Central Texas and have had bad experience with the Green Lacewing. Over the past year I have been bitten several times at dusk or after. The first time was multiple times across the top of my back, I had on a scooped T-shirt. Itched like crazy, made huge welts that ended up growing until they all came together as one huge red welt. The next morning welts were gone, but the redness remained for several days. The next time was on my forehead and the welt was so big I thought I might have to go to the ER. The welt stayed for two days and then the redness started receding. At this time I really didn’t know what was biting me, but thought I was having a reaction to mosquito bites.
    Then yesterday I was bitten on my thigh and of course had the same reaction. When I was in the bathroom getting the Benadryl out, a bright green insect landed on my mirror. I had never seen one before and started looking online. Problem solved, it was a green lacewing. I guess some folks are just more sensitive, at least in my case, to their very nasty bites. I wear perfume daily and after reading all the other posts, feel strongly that this is definitely a reason for them being attracted to me. So now I will bolt from the car to the house and not go out until I wash off my perfume.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for providing your personal experience for the benefit of our readers. We are sorry to hear that you have a bad reaction to Lacewing bites as they are a beneficial insect. Lacewings are sold by nurseries that cater to organic gardeners, but we cannot say for certain if there is a relationship between people getting bitten and the sale of Lacewings.

  24. Oleg says:

    Utah, SLC area, Sandy. Every evening I am sitting near the house the green lacewings start their hunt. Once evening was bitten twice and several more attempts were made. The only way to save myself from new attempts was to go inside.

  25. douglas says:

    I am in Washington state and what I noticed about these guys is they don’t seem to be biting you per say but I have on many occasions let them nibble on my skin at night sitting around my pool in mid summer it seems to me they are farming microbial bugs and or fungus off of the surface of your skin on average they would spend about 15 minutes moving around and nibble on some spots and they would dig down a bite but only for a second but they never break the surface of your skin not quite an ant bite if its in an area where your skin is tough its was more like a tickle at times on the back of your leg behind the knee cap it felt like an ant bite but still not breaking the skin. So it seems to me a more in depth study should be done to determine what on our skin might they be finding for their diet because the simple fact is they nibble an entire area thus making the single bite scenario less likely its more likely the case some of us don’t like the first bite and think we are being attack thus cutting their dinner time short when in fact they could just be cleaning our skin similar to many species have other creatures do like sharks and the fish that clean their teeth for them for one example. This is after all my humble observation never stop asking questions! for it is the true path to understanding.

    • bugman says:

      We were skeptical at first, but we did experience a first hand bite from a Lacewing Larva. The site was irritated for several hours.

  26. ConcernedDad says:

    I discovered my first Lacewing about 2 weeks ago. I never got around to looking it up, until just now, when I found a second one. The two I’ve encountered, didn’t even move a muscle. They are a very bright green. My concern is, if their bite is as horrid as everyone claims, how can I protect my two Sons? (Severely Autistic 3 year old and 9 month old.) The two I’ve found, have both been in my back bathroom. Have you discovered anything that helps repel them? I certainly don’t want either of them getting bit by one.

    Central Indiana.

    • bugman says:

      We do not provide extermination advice and we have not learned any information on repelling beneficial insects.

  27. Murri says:

    As I sit here and type a green lacewing sits on my index finger. A few got in tonight (ac is broke and we had the door open) I never knew what they were until tonight. I always called them faeries. I have loved them from the moment I first saw them. I’ve handled them many times. I’ve never been bitten once, nor smelled any odor coming from them. Good to know this stuff. This thing does not even move as my finger moves up and down and all over this keyboard as I write this. Almost like I made a friend. Ha! I looked closer once I saw they bit people to see it closer. It will put its mouth on my skin every now and then and I can feel it, no doubt. But no pain, or irritation occurs. It’s definitely not biting me; maybe just tasting me? What a little cutie! I’ll probably still call them faeries. Thanks for the info. I’m in Texas, by the way. I know they are in Missouri where I grew up too.

  28. Rebecca says:

    My mom thinks they’re farys and I don’t think that they are!
    Because a “fary” is always following me! Do anyone knows about it?

  29. gentlhart says:

    I bring plants into my house for the winter and I have yet to be successful on getting rid of all the pests before bringing them inside, though getting better at it. Right now, 2 of my 2 year old eggplants are getting aphids and I don’t want to spray because of over spray. I want some lacewings to handle the problem but where can I find them at this time of the year? An order of them is way too many so I decided I needed to learn how to raise some and find out where they will be hiding and started to search the net for info and found this site and thread. Growing up, they never bothered me so I didn’t bother them and later I learned they were good bugs for my garden. When I saw someone trying to kill one, I would explain to them that they were good bugs but a few said they hated them because they bite. I always assumed they got mixed up with another bug.

    • bugman says:

      If you are going to try to keep Lacewings on indoor plants, we suggest trying to collect the Larvae as they will not be flying about the house.

  30. gentlhart says:

    I had a problem with my screen and couldn’t finish my post. Anyway, one of those people was an ex girlfriend of mine. We were talking and one landed on my forehead. I left it there to see if it would bite and if it didn’t, I rest my case. It was there for a good while then I could feel it bite but didn’t hurt so no biggie but slowly it got stronger to the point it was annoying so I sent it on its merry way. That is the only time I have been bitten that I’m aware of and if I have, it was less than a mosquito bite. I have been handling the larva for many years and just found out today that they can give a nasty bite. When someone earlier mentioned the pomegranate scented soap, I thought about that as a lure then cologne was also brought up so I will probably experiment with that too. I learned something here that will help me or lead me to what I want to know. Will honey be a substitute food for the adults since flowers are scarce right now?

  31. Lacewing enemy #1 says:

    Chalk-up one more “found this web site while researching the little green devils that caused me misery” post. Yup, for the last two years I have been getting bitten by the adult green lacewing. The first bite I received was on the shoulder, and I smashed the little green devil thinking it was a mosquito. I do not recall any smell produced by the bug, but the next day the itching was intensified. Well, I was bitten yesterday, so I finally decided to see what this creature was. I am currently itching, and I decided to break the skin to drain as much ‘venom’ as possible. As someone else here has said, I would rather have ten mosquito bites than one bite from these buggers.

  32. Abby says:

    Well I was sitting at the lake and I felt this intense sting on the bottom of my foot. I looked down and saw the smallest lime green bug. It was so tiny I couldn’t tell what it looked like other than the color. It stung for about half an hour then nothing until the next day. Now I have what looks like a mosquito bite and it itches like crazy. It has been 3 days and it just seems to itch more and more every day. When does this itching stop? I would probably tolerate this better if it was not on the bottom of my foot!!! I am assuming it was a lacewing baby. It was very very small and I did not notice wings. But it was lime green. The itching is much worse than a mosquito bite.

    • Melissa says:

      YES! That is EXACTLY what happens to me. It stings at first, and then hours later (usually 10-12 hours) it starts itching, worse than any mosquito bite, and lasts for days. I am so sorry that happened to you, and I would bet anything it was a lacewing larvae. I think we must have some sort of allergy to their saliva or something… ?

      • abby says:

        That wouldn’t surprise me since I am allergic to everything!!! I had never even heard of this lacewing bug until I was looking up small lime green biting bugs. I am about to build on a lake lot and was walking the property (which has several pecan trees) and sat down to enjoy the view of the water when it bit me. I am not a bug person so this living on the water with all these bugs I have never seen or heard of is going to be difficult. It seems these little but very annoying bugs love pecan trees because they love to feast on the bugs that live on them.

  33. Antman says:

    There was a lacewing on the wall of my daughter’s room. We wanted to study it, so we placed a paper under the small plastic container to remove it from the wall & transfer it to the container. As we did the lacewing moved its wings slightly to move onto the container side. We got the lid on without shaking it too much. The lacewing froze and has not moved since. I first thought it was playing dead, but it has not moved. Could it have had a heart attack or something. Or was it just dying, because it was on her wall for 3 days in the same spot?

  34. Ellen Adelson says:

    I was bitten 4 days ago at dusk as I was watering a new tree in my yard by a green lacewing adult. I have to say I didn’t even feel the bites (about eight of them on both legs) until it gave me a particularly good hit. I then looked down and saw this beautiful bug. Since I didn’t realize what was to come I just tried to shoo it away but it was very persistent and kept coming at me. I finally went into the house and the next day noticed nasty red welts with blister-like raised lesions in the center. The next night was the worst with both pain and terrible itching that seemingly nothing could relieve. I actually had to use a cane to walk for a short time on rising as the bites on my calves in the muscles had intense pain.The red patches got larger but thankfully after another day the pain and itching subsided to a great degree even though the redness spread out and eventually I had just a huge section of redness and blister-like patches on my legs. (I have photos but I don’t think you accommodate pictures here.) I also had a few minutes the second night a couple of times of shivering but I didn’t feel any fever. I tried to find this bug on-line but it didn’t appear on any site showing nasty biting bugs when I first looked. I then looked in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida (I live in N. Florida) and spotted the Green Lacewing but there was no reference to it biting humans. Once I found it I had more to go on and found your site. Let me tell you–I have been bitten by fire ants and pilot ants and handled by mistake a couple of other biting insects and I admit I have nasty reactions to all, but I have never had a reaction as severe as this one. If I hadn’t seen what bit me I would have gone to a doctor thinking it was something far sinister. I think they must inject some kind of venom because the redness expands over the course of time with pain and itching that lingers where the red is. I wonder if you know if they inject any kind of venom? I wasn’t wearing perfume, but I am convinced that certain people must emit something that attracts the attacks of these insects. I am often the only one bitten by fire ants if they are in the vicinity and I don’t see them before they see me. Any ideas?

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for providing your account of a Lacewing bite.

    • lotusgreen says:

      Ellen — You might have seen the post I just put up so you’ll know I’ve been doing a lot of lacewing larva bite research too. They in fact do emit some chemical through their pincers that, when used appropriately, makes the insides of aphids turn to liquid so they can just suck them right up! I wasn’t bitten at random, though, but because I unknowingly trapped one of the larvae between my tightly fitting hat and my head. And almost a week later it feels like my head is being liquidized as well. :^(

      • Cara says:

        well thank you for taking one for the team, but I cringed when I read this! For some reason, adult lacewings are very attracted to me and I’ve been swarmed and bitten terribly… No fun and I run like crazy when they come out which is generally about dusk… So anyone who knows me will agree that I NEVER run… So these little buggers are nasty!!!!

    • Cindy S says:

      I’ve had very similar experiences in the pain, itching, and redness spread as you have had. We must be allergic.

      • George F. says:

        I have had the exact same reaction from the nymph bites. If a bug bites or stings it finds me. This the worst I have had, no pain at first then two days later a pustule followed by a spreading stiffness and swelling around the bite and then itching. Lasts for several days. Only discovered this after I found one biting my wrist and watched for symptoms, ugly nasty little brutes. Live in NC.

  35. lotusgreen says:

    I am really depressed; I have about 7 (!) lacewing larva bites on my head! I was sitting outside under the trees so took my hat off. Before I put it back on, I noticed a little (1/4″?) critter in there so I took his photo, then posted it in a couple of places and that’s how I learned what it was.

    I got him off my hat, he really wanted to cling to it, and put it back on. Several hours later my head/scalp started burning/itching. I had no idea what was going on. I thought maybe I had somehow gotten my head sunburned or was developing ringworm! I hadn’t felt the bites when they happened.

    That’s about when someone online told me who my photos were of so I looked up “lacewing larva” and found out that not only do they bite (though pretty much only when they’re like trapped between a hat and a scalp) but if you’re allergic to the stuff they fill you with (they liquidize aphids) you’ll soon find burning, stinging, itching red inch-long welts. I guess I’m allergic.

    I was bitten last Saturday or Sunday so it’s now been nearly a week. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and he agreed that they weren’t infected or anything, but that they’re all at the… blister stage!!! Oh great. They gave me some slightly stronger than over-the-counter cortisone cream, but I don’t think it does much of anything.

  36. lotusgreen says:

    I see I left out a crucial element. Obviously, he was in the hat when I’d had it on in the first place. After I took it off, and then checked it before putting it on again, it was already too late.

  37. vik says:

    LOL If that happened to you it’s because somehow you deserved it xD

    i’ve handle with my hands a lot of lacewings, i take photos of them, they’ve never bite me at all, in one occasion i even put the wings of one of them in the right place after i accidentally threw some water on it, i was working to fix its wings for half an hour or more, i didn’t get a scratch

    what you said sounds hilarious though xD
    something that comes to my mind is like a butterfly landing on your hand and then bites you out of nowhere LOL

    • Glenn says:

      I will send you pictures of the welts

      • vik says:

        Maybe it is a different type of lacewing, otherwise I gotta say I can’t believe how all of you get bites by these little buddies. The ones I’ve handle are green lacewings.

        • Jessica Winget- Goff says:

          The ones getting us are green ones as well. Again I believe only some people are allergic and have reactions to them.

  38. vicki says:

    I was mowing close to our cedar trees and felt a SHARP sting on my leg. My shorts were loose near the knee and, apparently, it had gotten trapped there. It hurt enough to get my immediate attention and I brushed it aside and it flew or fell away. I’m a 64 yr. old SE Missouri girl and have been bitten and stung by various bugs without much consequence, but it stung for quite some time. After showering, I cleaned it with alcohol and put Neosporin with pain relief on it. Later in the evening, it was a large raised bump with pus in the center. I pierced it with a sterilized needle and it drained; cleaning it up with alcohol and more ointment. The next day it was still swollen, red and hot. I actually used an ice pack. Maybe I am just allergic to it or maybe my body has changed with age, but it was more than just a little nuisance.

  39. Bonnie S says:

    Just to let you know..nothing ever bothers my hubby when it bites..wasp last week…finger was red and some swollen for the day but never complains. Today a green lacewing stung/bit him on the forearm…said it really smarted…just like a wasp. I was looking to see what it was when I found this site. We have these in our acreage but never been bitten before..yikes…thought they were harmless. Guess not

  40. BH says:

    Adult lacewings bite and hold on. I just got through chasing a heifer calf that has been rolling around in the grass trying to get it off her. Sprayed wasp spray (very direct spray) onto in hopes it lets go. Its driving her crazy! Great website and love the comments. Academics should get out more. Also concede at least one admitted it :-))

  41. joesgter says:

    I had one of these land on my leg yesterday. I wasn’t bit, but I did swat at it and squish it since I was in the yard and mosquitoes were out and I thought that it was one of those little devils.

    They stink like a stink bug when squished! (Halyomorpha halys)

  42. Cindy S says:

    I’ve been reading with interest the comments that people have made on this and other sites that say lacewing bites are small, like a mosquito bite. I’m looking at two bites I received on my inner arm and one is larger in diameter than a 1/2 dollar! The initial pain was minimal–a sting– but the itching sensation woke me in the middle of the night. Now, 30-some hours later, the bites still itch in spite of slathering the bites with 1% cortisone cream! This was not my first encounter with these little buggers and my previous reactions were very similar. I’d almost welcome an aphid population explosion in lieu of sharing my yard with these minuscule monsters.

  43. Sherri Moore says:

    I am getting bright red circle shaped bites that have a rash look to them from these terrible tiny little pests. They look like hives and cover my arms, lower legs and ankles. I even have a few on my face. I am allergic to insects that bite or sting and I am desperate to know if there is anything I could use to keep them off of me at night! I can’t use deep. Please, anyone know if maybe there is an oil or something like peppermint?

  44. Michael says:

    I recently got bit by one of these bugs at the rest stop on I-4 near Lake Alfred outside Orlando. Within minutes I had a quarter-size raised area with a red rash. Without anything medical with me, I used saliva. When I got hone an hour later, I took a picture of the rash before I applied After Bite. That was yesterday; it itches only if I touch it. I applied more After Bite today. The bite didn’t hurt but the rash is disturbing; luckily it’s going away. They are apparently attracted to some common food ingredients, so it might be wise to avoid dill, coriander, fennel, and caraway when these predators are in season.

  45. Missy says:

    I’m super allergic to the larvae. I know when it’s a green lacewing baby biting me because it feels like a red hot needle going thru my skin & for my body, is far worse than any bee sting I’ve ever had. They’re more itchy than mosquito bites but that’s not the problem for me – the pain & swelling are the worst. I get a tennis ball sized swelling that keeps expanding till my skin tears to accommodate it. Then amber fluid weeps from the many thin tears for 3-7 days. It throbs. It feels like a wound – not an insect bite – and is hot to the touch for up to 2 weeks. I’m then left with a huge circular red mark on my skin for months till it fades. Ice, ibuprofen, don’t help – Benadryl cream does help but only for 10 minute intervals. So while they won’t kill me or cause any major damage, a sting from these critters for the few that are allergic, is a miserable experience that lasts for days up to 2weeks. And yes I’m sure it’s the green lacewing larvae, I’ve sent photos & a video of the suckers stinging me, to entomologists to confirm.

  46. Julie in Zone 5, PA says:

    I was bit by a rather large adult green lacewing last night in Pennsylvania. Never had this happen before. Was walking across the lawn and one flew up onto my calf. I felt something land, didn’t think much of it. It was dusk and we’re near the river, so there are mayfly-type insects all summer long. But then I felt a bite. I ignored it at first, but as the intensity increased, i stopped and looked and saw the lacewing. To me, the bite was very sharp, akin to a horsefly. I swatted it off my leg and it fluttered into the lawn. Wow. New respect for them! Thanks for posting comments! I thought I was nuts.

    • Missy says:

      Haha they can really pack a punch for being such lovely, harmless looking things! In their baby stage, they’re referred to as “nature’s Freddy Krueger” – that says it all.

  47. Tara says:

    I live in North Carolina and I’m pretty sure this is what just bit me. Except it felt like a sharp needle I looked down and there was a green bug stuck in my arm. I had to pull it out but there was no smell from it and I couldn’t tell if it had wings. Can anyone confirm if this is what actually did bite me???

    • Missy says:

      Tara, I’ve been bitten countless times (mostly by larvae but a few adults as well) & never experienced any associated odor LOL so the absence of odor doesn’t mean it wasn’t a lacewing.
      The adults have been quite easy to brush off but the babies “plug in” deep – I have to pull them out. Check out the webpage here (you may have to copy & past address – not sure if links post)
      I never see as much detail on the babies as they’re about the size of ants but the shape is distinguishable. As for the adults, the bright green color is pretty recognizable 🙂

      • Tara says:

        Ok lol. The thing that bit me reminded me of a grasshopper by its shape it was bright green and it was very small. I don’t think it even had wings. I’ve never seen a bug like it. And the pictures I’m seeing of the lacewing kinda look like it but not completely.

  48. Ben says:

    I just got my first Green Lacewing bite. I know it was a Green Lacewing because it bit me behind the knee while relaxing on my Patio in Central Ohio and I grabbed it when I felt the “PINCH”. So I actually saw it as it bit me. 3 days in now and there is a lingering horrible itch at the bite site. Been using Benadryl to calm it down. It’s gonna leave a mark! 🙂 So I got bit in Central Ohio by a Green Lacewing. Go figure. First time and hopefully my last.

  49. Malorie says:

    I just saw these bugs for the very first time in my life the summer before last, which was 2015. I have NEVER seen them in south western West Virginia (Huntington, tri-state area). They must have made their way here, and have done so in major swarms. Yes they bite and yes it stings, and yes they stink! Mosquitos feast on me and unfortunately these buggers do too. In my opinion, the green lacewing bite is more of a sting than a mosquito bite by far. Glad to figure out what they are, but as far as I’m concerned, they can go back to where they came from!!!!

  50. Rae Lawson says:

    I live in Michigan and have been suffering with lacewing larvae bites for about 6 or 7 years now. It took me a couple of years to figure out what they were, and then a couple more years to find that anyone else suffered like I do. I have seen them bite and the the reaction…there is no doubt that it is lacewing larvae. I am noticing now finally a little more info on the subject of their bite. I have never been allergic to anything, but these creatures have ruined my outdoor life. It stings when they bite, but that is not the worst of it…24-36 hours later the bites swell and itch like no mosquito bite I have ever had. This lasts for 2 weeks before the itching subsides. The red marks from the bites remain for 3-6 months. I am so tired of reading how “harmless” and wonderful these bugs are. They have been released throughout the country and I believe over the next 10 years you are going to find that they are worse biting pests than mosquitos. My only solution is to be clothed from head to toe if I want to sit on my deck…pretty difficult in the middle of summer. If anyone finds another solution, I would be so grateful to know.
    Thank you so much for hosting this discussion on your website, it is the most complete interface I have found on the subject of the lacewing bites.

    • bugman says:

      While we do not have quite as bad a reaction as you have had, our own editorial staff was bitten once by a Lacewing Larva and it did produce an itchy welt that lasted far too long.

    • Melissa Bingham says:

      Rae, I completely agree with you, and I, too, am really sick and tired of reading about how wonderful these pests are. They ARE worse than mosquitoes for me, too, and I have the same reaction as you; although, the effects have diminished slightly over the years – I’m wondering if I am building some sort of tolerance. My husband has tried and tried to find something to spray on the yard to kill these pests, but because they are “beneficial”, we’ve had no luck. Best of luck to you this summer!

      • Rae says:

        Thanks for that Melissa, it is so helpful just to know you are not the only one. I am grateful to this thread for that. Wishing you success too and if I find any solutions, I will share them here.

      • Rae says:

        Thank you so much Melissa, I was wondering about certain skin care products and with your email, I am thinking we may be on to something. I am going to experiment with eliminating one at a time to see if I can pin down what might be making the situation worse.

    • cara says:

      Rae –
      I’m definitely a victim too and it’s awful. Not sure if this is just a coincidence… but I notice that when I forego perfumes… they don’t swarm me. It’s the adult lacewings that are my nemesis. Hope this helps!

      • Rae says:

        My mistake, this should have been directed to you Cara:

        Thank you so much Cara, I was wondering about certain skin care products and with your email, I am thinking we may be on to something. I am going to experiment with eliminating one at a time to see if I can pin down what might be making the situation worse.

  51. Monica Rössler says:

    I know for a fact that the bite of the green lacewing can cause complications. About ten years ago one bit me. It was in the house in the bathroom and getting dark. Should have closed the small window we always leave open. It hurt a little as mentioned. I had seen it on the wall before and did not think anything of it. Even found them pretty in their own way. But now I am wary of them.

    Please excuse grammar – I no longer speak english on a daily basis. I am a Brit but have lived in Germany for 45 years and married here.

    The bite turned red and next day covered a larger area on my leg and I decided to go to the local hospital as it was weekend and the only place I could go. It was in fact not only red but open – I mean damaged flesh not just red colored skin. They gave me antibiotics and said it has to be watched as it was bacteria eating away at it and caused by the bite or transmitted by the bite.

    Later when better after a few days of taking antibiotics, the doctor told me you can, in fact, loose your leg if it is not stopped. So I was lucky. Think I must be hypersensitive towards bites of the lacewing fly . The doctor in the hospital said a bacterial infection through the bite. So nothing is really harmless. You can be bitten and nothing happens or like it happened to me.

    Have had no reaction like that from mosquito bites and even a tick bite – only the lacewing.

    • Rae says:

      Thank you for that information Monica. Maybe as more people become aware of how much trouble these can be, there will be a more sensible approach to flooding our environment with them. I think the numbers of people who suffer from lacewing larvae bites is only going to grow.

  52. Susan says:

    I was just bitten by a green lace wing adult. It hurt initially, then caused lumps/swelling that spread to adult area adult boutique the size of adult boutique half dollar bill. I live in Stockton, CA which is in Central California. It had gotten under my blouse so I slapped it after it bit me leaving it’s pretty green legs on my skin. I later found the rest so can confirm it was an adult green lacewing.

  53. Jill Shields says:

    I was bitten on the neck in the house three nights ago in northern VA the most northern point of VA. I grabbed it when I felt it crawl.. then I felt a burn like a fire ant. And the next day a huge mosquito type bite popped up. It is worse than any mosquito bite big and hard and itches like crazy . Glad to see I’m not nuts.

  54. Jane says:

    I was bitten on the forearm last evening as I let our dog in from the yard. The bite area swelled and burned, turned into a red rash from my wrist almost to the elbow, so I took a Benadryl capsule and applied Benadryl cream to the entire area. I was able to swat the insect off and save it to research what it was. I’m positive it was an adult green lacewing! It’s the first time I’ve had a bite like this and I hope it’s the last! The swelling is down but the itching continues. On a positive note: I’m glad to read that they’re so beneficial to our gardens.

  55. Gustavo says:

    Dude I was just now bitten by the same exact bug and it was an adult. It snuck in my underwear drawer and bit the fire out of my ass two times when I put on my drawers! … hurt like a son of a bitch! I can’t imagine what a larva bite feels like!

  56. Nat says:

    Last summer I was bit by a green adult on my leg while clearing out weeds on the side of my home. It was horribly painful, stung, and I swore I had been stung by a bee until I saw the insect on my leg! The bite swelled up and was very red for hours and continued to itch and was painful to the touch the next day. I actually had to put ice on it to reduce the inflammation after the bite.

    They most definitely sting!

    • bugman says:

      We agree that Lacewings may bite, but to the best of our knowledge, they do not sting.

    • Missy says:

      Nat, my personal unscientific theory is that some people are allergic to this bug’s bite & that’s why some of us have major reactions to it. I sat side by side with a relative as we both were bitten by green lacewing larvae (they’re about the size of an ant). My relative barely felt it & only had a spec of a red dot where it happened. I ended up with a baseball sized swelling that eventually caused tiny tears in the skin to release the fluid build up. The swelling, itching & burning lasts for about 10 days with me. They’re pretty harmless to most of the population (annoying but not painful). You may have an allergy. That’s why I feel like a bee is stinging me every time I’ve been bitten & why others feel just a slight itch to indicate a bite taking place. Again – just a theory. I have the same reaction to adult green lacewing bites as well.

      • Rae says:

        I totally agree that only some people are allergic to them. At least at this time. My husband does not suffer from their bites the way I do. I am no longer able to spend any time outside in our yard or garden due to the misery they have inflicted on my summers.

  57. Joy says:

    Yup. The adults definitely bite. I’m in New York City (it’s not just the west coast!) and just got bitten by one. It took me a little while to identify it (fortunately when I swatted it, I only stunned it at first so I was able to get it with a paper napkin without squashing it too much). I was sitting in my apartment with the windows closed and ac on when I felt a sharp painful pinch by my elbow. I looked and saw this tiny winged green bug on my arm. So far I haven’t seen any allergic reactions (and I usually develop and allergic reaction within seconds of being bitten) and it’s been over ten minutes. It still kind of aches where I was bitten, but that might just be in my head.

  58. Katrina Martin says:

    Little jerk just bit me!!! It hurt too! Like an intense burning down my arm with a big welt. Pizza man and I both freaked out. I live in west Texas.

  59. Angie says:

    I just got bit from one of these little stinkers! I have never felt this kind of pain from a bite. It has been about a half hour and it is still stinging and permeating down my chest, into my neck and shoulder. I never knew this bug punch such a powerful bite! WOW! I am glad I found this site! I don’t feel so wimpy now! HAHA! I live in central AL.

  60. Blu says:

    Living in SoCal (Disneyland) and I have found a few (3) lacewings sleeping on the walls near the front door. First time this happened, it was moths near the back door. I don’t know how or where they’re getting in. I imagine with the opening/closing of said doors. However, I haven’t been bitten.

  61. Trish Crew says:

    Well, I see most of these replies were back in 2011, the year I got surrounded by lovely green lacewings while working on my swamp cooler in Chandler, Arizona. (In the summer) They seemed to like the backs of my knees & backs of my forearms. I don’t know if they were thirsty or hungry, but yes, they bite! Or at least nibble. The only long lasting effect was a bit of psychosomatic itch when I saw bunches of them, and a slight desire to avoid groups of the little nippers.

    I have also heard that Asian Ladybeetles also are known for nibbling, although I haven’t had the “pleasure”.

  62. Gareth says:

    I’m pretty sure I was bitten by an adult lacewing in Ireland 3 days ago. I still have a red dot on my arm from the bite.

  63. Rae says:

    I don’t know about the adults, but those selling the lacewing larvae claim they are no problem. I personally know at least 3 people in our neighborhood who suffer greatly from the bites. So while they may not be a problem for many. They are certainly a serious problem for a number of people. As they sell and release more and more of these, I expect the problem will grow. I can no longer enjoy the outdoors in our area thanks to these lacewing larvae.

  64. Hannah says:

    I’ve lived my entire 30 years of life around lacewings in Missouri and tonight was the first time I’ve ever been bitten by one. I was sitting on my front porch and at first I thought it was a mosquito bite until the pain quickly escalated to an intense burning sensation. It actually made me say,”OW!” I looked down and saw his little neon green self and shook him off. I checked in the light to make sure and yep, adult green lacewing. It’s been about 20 minutes and my ankle is still burning. It’s a little red, but I can feel it more than I can see it. Most sites say adults don’t bite, or only if provoked, but those are lies. Ankle biters.

  65. Robert watt says:

    My wife was bitten by a lacewing yesterday, the bite did swell and is irritating, like someone pinching your skin but if the odd bite is the price to pay to keep aphids at bay then it’s worth the pain. We live in Great Britain so we don’t have a lot of insect issues because they tend to prey on each other and not humans.

    • Rae says:

      Well Robert I am happy for your wife that her experience with the lacewings was minimal. However, my bites are multiple, swell and itch for weeks and scar for months. This is not from adult lacewings but from their larvae. No longer being able to be outside without being covered from head to toe is a big price to pay and I am not the only one paying it. Many others have the same reaction I do.
      It is deceptive on the part of the sellers to claim that these bugs don’t bite or cause harm to anyone.

  66. A says:

    Bitten by a green lacewing larvae in NY. The bite is very painful, stings, an no sign of it dissipating two days after the bite. The have bite tongues, could imagine they deliver bacteria, viruses when biting humans. Would be very interested to hear what repels them so I can protect myself from future misery. Please dont buy these as aphid pest control they are numerous and overpopulated.

  67. George F says:

    I’ve lived in NC all my life (55years) and never had a problem with the larvae bites before. Was bitten 5 times this spring with serious side effects. I wonder if the ones being released for aphid control are from another area? I have been bitten by the Asian ladybug but other than a little pain when it happened I suffered no ill effects from their bite.

    • bugman says:

      We have often pondered how good intentions (wanting to garden organically) can cause gardeners to buy non-native predatory species to introduce to their gardens. This is the case with Preying Mantis oothecae and it might also be the case with commercially distributed Lacewings.

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