All About Ladybugs in your Garden

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Whether you like it or not, your garden is an open park for all of nature’s creatures. Some tenants are considered pests and some, like the ladybugs, are welcome guests. Let’s take a few minutes to learn all about ladybugs in your garden.

Learn all about ladybugs: How to attract them, buy and release them, then keep happy so they can help control the aphids and other pests in the garden

Are Ladybugs Good for your Garden?

One of the best tenants in any garden are ladybugs. Not only are they said to bring about good luck, but they also make concrete contributions to the preservation and growth of a garden.

Having ladybugs is the best and natural way of controlling aphids in the garden. Aphids are a common annoyance to gardeners as they by thrive creating holes in your flowers and vegetables and literally sucking the life right out of your plants. This is where the ladybugs come in. Just one ladybug can eat over 5,000 aphids during it’s lifetime. Think of ladybugs as your eco-friendly poison-free alternative to prevent an aphid infestation.

Attracting Ladybugs to your Garden

Now that you know all about ladybugs and their role in controlling the aphid population, you may be interested in attracting ladybugs to your garden.

Dill is a favorite treat for the ladybugs
Dill is a favorite treat for the ladybugs

The presence of aphids in your garden is enough to attract ladybugs to seek residence. But, if you want to make it a paradise for them (think prime real estate), you may want to make it even more appealing & cater to the ladybugs’ taste.

Ladybugs are attracted to specific types of plants. The ones that they simply cannot resist have umbrella shaped flowers like yarrow, wild carrot, tansy, angelica, caraway, cilantro, dill and fennel. Other plants they like are dandelions, scented geraniums and coreopsis.

It is important to take note that ladybugs will only control the population of aphids, but won’t be able to eliminate them completely. You can look at it this way, if there are no juicy aphids to eat, the ladybugs won’t have any reason to stay in your garden. So you may need to sacrifice a few stems to the pesky aphids to make sure that the ladybugs have plenty to eat.

Find Out Where to Buy Ladybugs

The good news is, if you are unable to attract ladybugs in your garden you can always buy them. It may seem odd to some who have considered buying bugs, but its quite common in the gardening community.

The only thing you need to know now is where to buy ladybugs. Just like pretty much everything else, ladybugs can be bought online. There are several websites that you can visit to compare prices. Home Depot, Amazon and Gardens Alive are just a few of the sources to buy ladybugs.

Ladybugs are usually shipped in cotton bags mixed with wood shavings. ½ pint will have 4,500 ladybugs that can cover 2,500 square feet of garden. For a smaller area, 1,500 ladybugs are enough for a 500 square foot yard.

How to Release Ladybugs in the Garden

When your shipment of ladybugs arrives, the next concern is on how to release them effectively in your garden. The biggest problem is how to keep them in your garden after releasing them from the container. In some cases, they fly off to another garden that has either more attractive plants or pests. Now, that can be frustrating.

First, place them in the refrigerator. While it seems odd, this will actually calm them from their journey, so they don’t become agitated. Next you’ll need to get the timing right. Release them to your garden when they are about to sleep which means you need to release them in the evening.

ladybug enjoying a drink
The ladybugs will be thirsty when you release them. A good drink will keep them around.

 

It also helps to water down the garden before the release.  They will be very thirsty from being in the storage container. So if you release them at night when they are sleepy and there is plenty of water to satisfy their thirst, they will definitely spend the night in your garden. And hopefully stay for many months to come.

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home

But you know the children’s song:

Ladybird, ladybird,
Fly away home….
Sometimes, they need to move on. So if some fly away in a few days, don’t be too concerned it only means that there are not enough aphids in your garden to support the population (or too many at your neighbors).
Learning all about ladybugs is just a matter of finding out what they like. At a minimum, if you grow all their favorite plants, you can be sure to keep enough around to do wonders in your garden.
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