GROWING WITH LADYBUGS

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THESE BUGS ARE YOUR FRIENDS…

Why do you want ladybugs in your garden? Because you DON’T want aphids, scale, mealybugs, leafhoppers, mites and lots of other insects that ladybugs eat!

A ladybug can eat up to 50 aphids per day, or as many as 5,000 in its lifetime. When introduced into your garden, they will reproduce and their offspring will also eat “bad bugs”…as long as you have food for them, they will stick around. Ladybugs also feed on the pollen of some plants. They are especially attracted to fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot and yarrow flowers, as well as cosmos, coreopsis, scented geraniums and dandelions.

When introducing ladybugs to your garden, wait until evening. They are less likely to fly away at night. Water the area before releasing them, so they have something to drink. Scatter them gently onto the ground in areas where you know aphids have been seen. Keeping ladybugs in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer!) will cause them to stay in a semi-dormant condition. Do not release ladybugs in a location which has been recently sprayed with pesticides, and don’t spray pesticides in the area after they are released.

If you handpick insect eggs and larvae from your plants, be sure you know what all stages of the ladybug look like, so you don’t inadvertently remove them! The eggs are laid in clusters on the underside of leaves, in groups of 30 to 100. The larvae look like tiny orange and black alligators! They eat aphids, too.