Plant Protection Products

Health and environmental risk assessment of the larvae Chrysoperla Carnea for use as a plant protection product


Report no: 2014: 07

Published: 10.11.2014

Key message:

"Gulløyelarver" (green lacewing larvae, Chrysoperla carnea) is a product for biological control. The application is for use against aphids in green-houses and tunnels. Gulløyelarver was used in Norway from 1985-1993. An assessment in 2001 concluded, however, that the use of products with Chrysoperla carnea could represent an environmental risk since it was not known if the species in the products were the same as the ones with natural occurrence in Scandinavia.

In this regard, The Norwegian Food Safety Authority asked VKM to perform an assessment of possible risks related to health and environment, in light of possible new data.


The larvae of Chrysoperla carnea have hollow jaws through which they can inject digestive enzymes into their prey. In contact with humans, the larvae are capable of delivering painful bites which may cause local swelling. Such bites are, however, not considered dangerous, and can be avoided with preventive measures.

Allergic asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis has been reported in persons working in the production of biological agents with Chrysoperla carnea, but it is the opinion of VKM that such effects are not likely to be relevant for users of the agents.


A previous assessment in 2001 by the Advisory for plant protection products concluded that the use of products with Chrysoperla carnea represented an environmental risk because of the risk of genetic interference with natural populations of the species in Norway.

Lacewings belonging to the Chrysoperla carnea complex are considered established and indigenous in Norway, and a recent study by the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk) strongly suggests that the lacewings in the commercial products belong to the same cryptic species complex as individuals sampled in Norway. In case the species in the products is different from those present in Norway, any genetic interference with local populations in Norway is prevented by differences in duetting songs.

Chrysoperla carnea is polyphagous and cannibalistic. They prefer aphids, but may also consume other insects and mites. It is, however, the opinion of VKM that the environmental risk from this will be minimized in greenhouses and tunnels where the release will be in a contained environment and directed against aphid colonies. Chrysoperla carnea may establish in the greenhouse and plastic tunnels and may also possess the ability to disperse and survive in the field. However, it is the opinion of VKM that the direct and indirect effects of this are at most moderate, although it cannot be completely excluded that Chrysoperla carnea species in the products might also have properties that have not been reviewed.


Vitenskapskomiteen for mat og miljø

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

Send e-mail

Other popular articles

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

©2004-2023 VKM