UC Cooperative Extension Ventura County
669 County Square Drive Suite 100
Ventura CA 93003
Monday - Thursday: 8 am to 5 pm
Friday: 8 am to noon or by appointment
What you found is aphidlion. It is probably looking for food on your birdcage. This is the larval stage of a lacewing. Both the adult lacewing and the larvae (aphidlion) feed on aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and other small insects. Hence, they are considered beneficial. The aphidlion has a pair of very sharp, curved mandibles with which it grasps and holds its prey. These can be used to pinch your skin if you happen to get one on you while working in the garden. The bite is not toxic to my knowledge, and there is no residual effect. So, put the aphidlion on your rosebush or lantana to help control whiteflies, and other unwanted pests.