Natural Enemies

Friends with Benefits - Natural Enemies Gallery (work in progress)

All of these years working with biological pest management have made me appreciate the diversity of natural enemies helping us by suppressing pests in the field. Learn to recognize these beneficials and you will feel surrounded by friends.

This is a work in progress. More beneficials will be added as time permits.

Neuroptera - Lacewings, snakeflies, duskywings


The green lacewing adults are frequently found near porch lights at night but their alligator-like larvae are found searching for prey on leaves. Many species lay their eggs on stalks.

Green lacewing adult

green lacewing adult

Stalked green lacewing egg

stalked green lacewing egg

Lacewing larva, a beneficial insect, found near lace bug infestation

green lacewing larva


It is called a fly but a snakefly actually belongs to the same family as green lacewings, Neuroptera.

snakefly adult

snakefly adult

Dustywings - Coniopterygidae

Small, barely noticeable, these tiny relatives of lacewings eat tiny prey such as spider mites and insect eggs.

Dustywing adult

dustywing adult

Dustywing larva

dustywing larva

Coleoptera - Beetles

Calosoma sp. ground beetle

Ground beetle - Carabidae

Small to large beetles, often with grooved hindwings (elytra)

Rove beetles - Staphylinidae

Rove beetles - Staphylinidae

Often recognized by their short hind wings (elytra). Many are predatory as larvae and adults.

Soldier beetle adult - Cantharidae

Soldier beetles - Cantharidae

Lady beetles - Coccinellidae

Most people recognize the adult stages of lady beetles but are far less familiar with the egg, larval, and pupal stages of these well-known insects.

Seven-spotted ladybug

lady beetle adult

Lady beetle egg cluster with newly hatched (eclosed) larva

lady beetle egg cluster

Lady beetle larva

lady beetle larva

Lady beetle pupa

lady beetle pupa


Predatory midges

Can I actually persuade you to like a maggot? How about if it eats spider mites on your plants? Meet the predatory gall midge - Feltiella sp.

Feltiella predatory midge

Feltiella predatory midge

Aphidoletes aphid midge

Aphidoletes aphid midge

Not convinced you like maggots? How about if they eat the aphids on your plants? Meet Aphidoletes, the aphid midge.

Hover flies - Syrphidae

Many people recognize hover flies as they hover over flowers searching for pollen and nectar but do not recognize the larvae, which are predatory on aphids.

Hover fly adult

hover fly adult

Hover fly adult

Scaeva sp. larva

Another maggot that eats aphids, a hover fly. The larva of Scaeva resembles a caterpillar leading some to kill it.

Long Legged Fly - Dolichopodidae

Long Legged Fly - Dolichopodidae

Original publication: 6/3/2016
Last update: 6/9/2016

Author: R.L. Rosetta, Extension Nursery Integrated Pest Management, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University