Need help id'ing larvae on asparagus

Asked September 2, 2015, 8:10 AM EDT

These caterpillars have just now begun to appear all over our 1-year old asparagus plants. They seem to be feeding on the foliage - but I am not sure. What are these? I've also sighted a couple of lacewings nearby but cannot tell if they are interested in these caterpillars.

Edit to update: These adult beetles and pupae are also nearby. Are these a form of ladybugs and so I should well leave them alone? I haven't sighted any other potentially harmful insects on the plants, but if they are there, they must be feeding on something, correct?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

These appear to be native lady beetles, beneficial predator insects that you are seeing in all three life stages. Photo #1 is the larvae, #2 is the pupa, and #3 the adult lady beetle of what is probably the spotted ladybug beetle.

You will want to protect these beetles because they are your garden friends, taking care of your asparagus. They eat asparagus aphids, which are pest insects.
The lacewing is also a predator insect, which you want to protect. Looks like you have a healthy predator population. To guard them, if you must use insecticide sometime (not called for on your asparagus) use something like insecticidal oil or soap, or Bt.

ECn