Ladybugs in your Garden

Jul 31, 2014 | Uncategorized

Ladybugs in my Garden

As hungry as can be

Eating up the aphids

So something is left for me!

 

That ladybug prayer is understood by every gardener out there! With garden stores all around, getting ladybugs for your garden is as easy as a visit to the nearest center. Bring a beautiful container back filled with little specks of red and black garden gold and set them free. Easy! The following morning brings about only despair, for all the new friends you just rescued to give a wonderful home have left for greener pastures elsewhere. What happened? It is actually not that easy, as with any new guest that you invite to move into your home, there is preparation needed so that the garden is a happy home in the eyes of a ladybug.

 

In preparing for your newly adopted family, you will realize that ladybugs have the same needs that everyone living thing does; they need food, water, shelter and a safe place to raise new babies. Recently treated gardens with pesticides to rid a garden of the pests will not only be a dangerous place for the ladybugs but now there is also no real sustainable food supply for them. Further, ladybugs need nectar so flowering plants must be available. Some flowers that attract lady bugs are dill, fennel, marigold and yarrow. And of course there are also many insects ladybugs are attracted to; like aphids, mealy bugs and mites. Make sure they have water, shallow dishes placed throughout the garden is a good idea as long as the water is kept fresh.  Although ladybug houses are cute and well intended, they usually stay vacant. Low ground cover like oregano and thyme works best, as well as supplying mulch or leaves that will provide protection for these new friends and give them a safe place to lay eggs.

 

Making sure the new friends are released at the right time of the day is another way to help your ladybugs want to stick around. Twilight hours are the best time to ensure as many as possible will stay. Prior to setting them free, some recommend that the ladybugs be put into the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours which does not kill them, just slows them down.

All of this is a delicate balancing act but is worth the efforts which in the end make the lady bugs happy and leaves the gardener with a feeling of great accomplishment! May all the gardens out there be a ladybugs new favorite home!

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