Lady Bugs!

Guys! I am so excited! I just ordered 1500 live ladybugs for our garden from Amazon.com! I can almost hear the shock in your expression.

Ladybugs, though they seem cute and innocent, are actually voracious predators. They are quite possibly the best defenders of garden everywhere.

Lady bug (Coccinella septempunctata) on a leaf

They protect flowers, vegetables, and other plants from pests like aphids, mites, mealybugs, scale insects, insect eggs and pupae, fly larvae and small caterpillars. In fact, a single ladybug can feed on up to 80 aphids a day!

They also with pollination in areas where bees are not prevalent (live an inner city rooftop deck).

We had a small problem with tiny red mites roaming around the deck last year. I think they spread over from a neighbor’s tree. This year, it seems to have doubled.

Five-spot ladybird (Coccinella quinquepunctata...

I am excited to see the ladybugs take them out, and hopeful they will protect my garden against other invaders. Are you totally freaked out yet? Bruce was – I’ll admit it. He is skeptical of my latest purchase, and I understand. (I did just buy live bugs, and have them delivered to my home.)

But I read up on the best ways to go about releasing the bugs, and ensuring they stick around. It is only natural that some of them will fly away. But the others need to be coaxed into staying.

The Lady Bug Project of Los Angeles County had some helpful tips on how to  improve the chances of ladybugs staying in your garden:

  • Always release in the evening after rain or watering.
  • Spread out your releases over a couple of days.
  • Don’t release them all at once in the same spot.

Apartment Therapy also offered a tutorial on making a ladybug habitat that will encourage them to stick around once released.

Courtesy of Apartment Therapy
Lady Bug Habitat Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

They suggest using bamboo poles, cut at an angle, and strung up with raisins inside to encourage the bugs to stick around.

I can’t wait to try it out on the deck!

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