Target pests: Aphids, Whitefly, Fruitworm, Mites
Commonly referred to as Lady Bugs, these helpful critters are not bugs at all. They are beetles, and their correct name is The Ladybird Beetle. There are about 400 different types of Lady Bugs in the Coccinellidae family in North America and about 4,000 species worldwide. The most common beneficial species in North America is the Convergent Lady Beetle.
All Lady Bugs have similar life cycles. Eggs are laid in the spring. When hatched the larvae will feed for several weeks and pupate into adults. The adults feed through the fall, then either lay eggs and die or hibernate over the winter, waking in the spring to feed and lay eggs.
Lady Bugs are the most widely used and best known form of biological pest control. Famous for their control of aphids, Lady Bugs will also consume large numbers of whitefly, mealybugs, scales, mites and many other soft bodied insects as well as bollworm, broccoli worm, cabbage moth and tomato hornworm. Lady Bugs will consume up to 1,000 aphids in its lifetime in both their larvae and adult stages and work well in garden and greenhouse settings.
One common complaint against the Lady Bug is that once released they will fly off to the neighbors house down the street while aphids have their way with your roses and tomato plants. The truth is that once released a portion will fly off and that once the aphids are consumed another portion will fly off looking for food. But there are a few things that you can do to get your Lady Bugs to stay. First, always release Lady Bugs in the evening, they will not fly at night and are not as active when it’s cooler. Another trick is to mix water & regular soda pop (50/50) and spray it on the Lady Bugs just prior to release. The sugar in the soda will cause the Lady Bugs wings to stick together for a few days so they can not fly away. In this time the females should start laying their eggs in your garden. Lady Bugs are very territorial – Lady Bugs that hatch in your garden will call it home. We also offer Bug Blend, a flowering seed mix that will provide both a natural habitat and the pollen and nectar beneficials required to reproduce, and Lady Bug Breakfast – a supplemental food source to feed your Lady Bugs when the pests have been eaten.
Do you belong to a school group, 4H or a garden club looking for a fund raiser? Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis make an interesting alternative to candy bars and pepperoni sticks. Call for information. Lady Bugs are packed in 1500 counts. That’s enough for an average garden. A half pint is good for 3000 sq ft, a gallon is recommended to cover 1 acre.
Usage: One Gallon Per Acre
Looking somewhat like a fat alligator, the Lady Bug in its larva stage is not quite as cute as it will look as an adult and probably won’t inspire someone to write nursery rhymes in its honor. But as aggressive pest control the larva has a big appetite for aphids, mites and whitefly.
LADYBUGS IN THE HOUSE?
For about 7 months out of the year everybody is glad to see ladybugs. They are good luck, are fun to watch and it means they are out in your garden controlling pests the way mother nature intended pests to be controlled. The rest of the year ladybugs are looking for a nice warm spot to over-winter, sometimes in your house.
There are many theories as to why ladybugs choose one house over another – color, location, plants in the garden or how the house faces the sun. None of that really matters. You just want them out of the house.
Take a nylon stocking and stuff it down the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner leaving the cuff to hold on to, then vacuum the ladybugs up, the nylon saves the ladybugs from getting chopped up. Release them in another area, put them in the refrigerator until spring or give them to a friend with a green house. Ladybugs collected now will hibernate until mid spring between 33 and 40 degrees. If your milk doesn’t freeze or spoil overnight the ladybugs will do just fine. Do this every time you see a ladybug. It may be a pregnant female and if you don’t know what that means there are other web sites you should be checking out.
If the problem is ladybugs outside, spray them with the garden hose or blow them with a leaf blower. Upsetting them helps with the urge to move on. It may take awhile but eventually you will get the upper hand. The more ladybugs you have the longer it may take.