I’m an avid gardener who once had a pest problem. All my problems ended when I discovered ladybugs. I’ve found them to be a great way of controlling pests in the garden, especially those dreaded aphids that wreaked so much havoc in my garden in the past.
They attacked in droves, causing much damage and plant mold that left me quite frustrated. But with my ladybugs, I’m able to deal with an aphid infestation in no time. The good news is that many ladybug species are found in the U.S. so I never have a problem obtaining them when I need them.
1. Ladybugs Gobble Up Aphids
Ladybugs are the perfect foil for the aphid nuisance in the garden. I’ve found that the ladybugs and their young larvae gobble up these aphids at a rapid rate. They also have an appetite for scales, mealy bugs, mites and other smaller insects that plague my garden.
But the aphids are their main attraction in the garden. They are their staple food. It seems an adult ladybug can eat up to 60 aphids a day and a massive 5000 throughout its life. It needs about 300 aphids before its eggs come out.
Each female ladybug may lay between 40 and 300 eggs and during their transition to the adult stage which can take about 4 weeks, these greedy larva or kid ladybugs can gobble up about 400 aphids. So excuse me blabbing on about these ladybugs.
They consistently reduce the main insects that are harmful to my garden. But I have to be careful to have enough aphids to go around because from what I’ve seen when their aphid needs are not being met, the ladybugs start to eat each other, which defeats the purpose of they were there in the first place!
2. They Make My Garden Look Attractive
The ladybugs have forced me to add color to my garden. That’s because pollen and nectar are also a necessary part of their diet. They are attracted to certain types of flowers, particularly those with an umbrella shape. These include caraway, dill, fennel, wild carrot, cilantro, and angelica.
As you can see, these are colorful herbs that are also essential to a healthy diet. But the ladybugs’ appetite for these is not so great that they’ll deprive me of my daily needs. Remember that their main interest is the dreaded aphids.
Ladybugs are also attracted to the pollen and nectar from dandelions and geraniums. So I can’t thank these ladybugs enough. They’ve enabled me to smarten up my garden and to eat healthily, too.
3. They’re An Organic Pesticide
Live ladybugs are also a natural pest control method. What’s more, they’re environmentally friendly. Because there are so many of them, they eliminate the need for me to use toxic sprays and other insecticides in my garden.
Plus they are themselves sensitive to these insecticides and I don’t want to kill them off, nor do I want to get rid of their main food source. It will mean that they won’t be able to continue to lay their eggs and continue their pest control function.
I’ve also found that they have a self-defense mechanism which protects them from would be predators such as cats. They are easily recognizable because of their distinct color. They can be yellow-orange or red in color with blacks spots or they can be black with yellow or red spotting.
However, these would be predators leave them well alone because they emit a foul-smelling and tasting fluid. So the ladybug reigns supreme in the garden.
Bonus: They May be Bought in the U.S.
The good news is that Ladybugs are available for buying in the U.S if they’re not naturally present in your garden. The suppliers will also advise on ways to keep the ladybugs in the garden. The bugs are shipped out during their adult stage and when let out, they are sure to mate and lay their eggs in about 10 days.
I usually release these beneficial insects into my garden early in the growing season and then let them run free in the garden. My ladybugs have given me great peace of mind in the garden.