Pest Control: Ladybugs 101

When a good friend told us how ladybugs saved one of her backyard trees, we were intrigued. We knew ladybugs were considered environmentally-friendly pest control, but we didn't really know what to use 'em for or how to go about fixing some of our own garden problems. So if you're in the dark on ladybugs in the garden, read on. Ladybugs are beneficial because they eat aphids and mites—bugs that will eat your veggies, flowers, and even trees. Their larvae are incredibly beneficial, too—they can eat as many bad bugs as the adult ladybugs can (our friend reported that the ladybug larvae working on her aphid-ridden tree grew to be as thick as her finger, and within two weeks her aphid problem was completely mitigated by these thousands of ladybugs!).

If you want to release ladybugs in your garden, follow these straightforward tips for the best success.

• While you can buy them by the bucketload, don't try to let go of 1,000 ladybugs at a time in a small space. (Ooops... guilty!) Use a small number at a time and replenish the garden with more ladybugs every few days.

• To keep the rest of them "fresh," mist them with water and store them in the fridge.

• Release them at night, when they're dormant; that way they're less likely to fly away, and will wake up hungry and looking for food.

• Make sure there is plenty of food and ample water for the ladybugs. If you want them to stick around and tend the garden, mist the plants before releasing the ladybugs and be sure that your pest problem is worth their while.

Find out more about these beneficial insects here.

Related:
4 Natural Ways to Protect Your Garden

(Image: Flickr member docentjoyce, licensed under Creative Commons.)

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