They are the biological fighters of aphids as well as further garden pests and besides a beautiful sight in domestic gardens. Welcome them to your garden for pest control and say goodbye to chemical pesticides.
These little ladybugs can be easily identified by their bright orange-red coloring and tiny black spots. Many types are without spots and there are also some in black or black with red spots.
They have chewing mouthparts in contrast to the stinging and sucking tubes of real beetles like aphids and bugs. When resting, they tuck their small thin wings under their hard wings known as wing covers.
How ladybugs are useful for your garden
While some species are known to harm crops such as soybeans, spinach and corn, they are generally harmless and feed, for example, on aphids and other small insects that like to feast on your garden plants.
Aphids are one of your favorite meals, and that makes them useful to gardeners. These soft-bodied beetles suck plant juices, especially from tender parts of plants, such as. B. the buds and the tips. Thus they inhibit the growth and the approach of the fruit is affected.
Ladybugs are voracious eaters, devouring 40-50 aphids a day. A single adult Beetle probably eats in its lifetime about 5.000 insect larvae as well as insects. Of the females, about 1 per season.000 eggs, which it lays in batches of 10, 50 or even 100 near food sources.
Now you should have about an idea of their pest control potential and not to forget what the offspring can do as well. The larvae hatching from the eggs are unfortunately not similar to the adults. Because of this they are usually mistaken for the harmful insect larvae and killed by gardeners. They have an alligator-like appearance with an appetite to match.
They feed on 400-500 aphids in the 2-3 weeks before pupation begins and a resp. Two weeks as young beetles hatch. But ladybugs and their larvae do not only eat aphids. Also with spider mites, mealybugs and the eggs and larvae of other harmful insects, z. B. To the Colorado potato beetle, know no mercy.
How to attract ladybugs to your garden?
Because they have so much pest control potential, ladybugs are an asset to your garden. They can be found all over the country in large and small quantities; however, you can welcome them in the garden only if all the conditions are right. The following measures will help the small beetles to come and feel at home in your garden.
1. Please avoid chemical spraying
Ladybugs are not overly affected by mild insecticides, but they are better off staying away from sprayed areas. Discontinue all chemical control measures, including organic pesticides and herbicides, for about 5-6 weeks and you will find that the ladybugs will visit your garden all by themselves. The chance is highest in spring, because they are awakened from hibernation and are looking for new feeding grounds.
2. Plant plants that are susceptible to aphids
Roses are known to be susceptible to aphids. Marigolds and nasturtiums are other ornamental plants that aphids like. In the vegetable garden, lettuce, tomatoes, cabbage, radish as well as potatoes are candidates for them; fruit trees as well. Plant many in your garden so the ladybugs have a quick food source.
3. Plant suitable pollen and nectar plants
The beneficial ladybugs are carnivores, but they also like to take pollen and nectar, especially during the growing season. Flowers of the plant family Umbelliferae seem to be magnets for the little beetles. These include fennel, wild carrot, dill, coriander and caraway seeds. The composites yarrow and tansy, with their flat flower heads and small flowers full of pollen, also seem to attract the beetles.
How to buy ladybugs and release them in the garden?
If you are not successful in getting local ladybugs to settle in your garden, or it takes too much time for small populations to establish, you can also buy the beetles and release them in the garden. However, you should be sure that you have made your garden insect friendly before the little guests arrive.
Buying ladybugs is a cheap option for the gardener. You could also breed ladybugs in bug farms, but unfortunately they often don't follow the typical natural feeding patterns when you release them into the garden.
Specimens offered by beetle dealers are always collected from the wild, and usually from the aesthetics as well as overwintering sites, where they can be found in large numbers.
Once the beetles arrive at your house, spray some water into the bag and store it in the refrigerator. It is helpful to mitigate the caused dehydration from transportation as well as overexcitement. They are helped by the cold to calm down, as they are taught to hibernate.
They can be kept in a cool place for about 3 months. You can possibly. become so motionless that you think they have perished, however, some loss is still to be expected. However, many recover quickly once they arrive in the garden. As with attracting local ladybugs, there should be aphid-prone plants for the little ones in your garden.
Early morning as well as late in the evening are best for releasing the little ladybugs. The cold temperature as well as darkness can prevent them from flying away once they are released. On the other hand, sunlight prompts them to flee. If they release them in the evening, they would have all night to calm down.
How to keep the ladybugs in your garden permanently?
You should not let the whole bag of ladybugs into the garden at once. Take out a big crowd and watch how they react and behave. They often stay close by, where they are sure to find food. Head for neighbor's garden, check what plant species he has in his garden. Maybe growing the same plants can keep them in your garden.
They say that spraying them with sugar solution, sugar diluted with equal amount of water, helps to keep them in the garden for a long time, so that they lay many eggs. But that's not the case, because the sugar drying on the beetles can gum up their outer wings and make them temporarily unable to fly. The effect wears off after 1-2 weeks, so no permanent damage is done.
Useful species of ladybugs abound, but for sale are the American-based Hippodamia convergens and the Asian Harmonia axyridis. Both are aggregating types, making it easy for traders to collect them in the wild.
Both species can control pests very well, but the Asian species are considered more aggressive. But investing in native bugs is probably better for the environment and your garden. Ladybugs are a gardener's friend and once you see what these little bugs do, you'll want to create the right conditions in your garden as soon as possible to keep them around for a very long time.