Everyone is familiar with ladybugs, lady beetles or ladybirds. No matter what you call them, you either hate them or love them From a gardening perspective, and they can be very beneficial. Ladybugs one of the most active predators and eat other bugs but are most popular for their love of aphids. You can purchase adult ladybugs, and they are very cost effective.
Orange football-shaped eggs can be found on the underside of leaves in circular clusters of three to twenty. Females can lay up to 300 eggs per day. Upon hatching, larvae can eat close to 400 aphids daily. It slows to 50 or 60 a day as they get older. If food is not available, they will eat each other.
Nectar and pollen are vital to the growth of new adult ladybugs, especially before winter hibernation. But they can only survive on these foods for a short time. They need food for egg production.
While aphids are the primary prey of most ladybugs, some are very particular about the species of aphids that are consumed. Others are not so picky and may prefer mites. In cases where aphids aren’t plentiful, moth and beetle eggs, mites, smaller insects, pollen and nectar will be eaten. Ladybugs are very valuable natural enemies.
Adult ladybugs hibernate in the fall. See them in plant waste and narrow spaces like rocks and trees. They prefer leafy areas to protect them from the cold during the winter. When spring arrives, adults head to fields and yards for mating season.
Along with aphids, pollen is also needed for food. Ladybugs are only attracted to certain plants. Plants with umbrella shaped flowers are their favorites. Some are fennel, cilantro, dill, angelica, caraway, tansy, yarrow and wild carrot. Lady bugs are also attracted to white cosmos, coreopsis, dandelions and scented geraniums.
If they don’t like the environment, ladybugs will not stay around. Make sure you have a high moisture level in your garden so that they have water to drink. The closer the plants are together, the higher the humidity. Provide various types of plants that offer a variety of nectar and pollen sources. You should also avoid insecticides.