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How ladybugs can help your garden

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How ladybugs can help your garden

Post  Luci Dawson on 3/16/2012, 6:30 pm

One of my local nurseries just emailed that they have a new crop of ladybugs available for sale ($9.95 for ~2,000). Here's how they can help your garden and pictures of the adult and larva of the one recommended in the article by The Ladybug Lady as being the best to use.

Farmers love ladybugs because they save gardens by eating pest insects.

The scientific name for a ladybug is a coccinellidae, which means ‘little red sphere’, or coleoptera, which means ‘sheath-winged’, but most people just call them ladybugs, lady beetles, or ladybird beetles. There are different versions of how these beetles came to be known as ladybugs, but one of the most popular versions is that during the Middle Ages in Europe, the crops were being taken over by insects and dying. People were beginning to starve so the farmers decided to pray to the Virgin Mary to help them with their insect problem.

The farmers were a little bit upset when even more insects showed up, little red beetles with black spots on them, because they thought that these new insects were going to eat the crops, too. But the beetles that came actually ate the bugs that were eating the crops, and so the beetles became known as the “beetles of Our Lady”, eventually shortened to simply ladybug.

In another case in the 1800’s, and this case is a fact and not a legend, the orange and lemon farmers in California began having problems with insects destroying whole groves of orange and lemon trees. The insects were Australian scale insects, so the farmers imported Australian ladybugs and released them into the orchards. Within two years the orchards were free of the scale bugs and the entire orange and lemon industry was saved by the ladybugs.

Since the 1800’s orange and lemon incident, ladybug farmers have cropped up. Raising ladybugs became a big business and farmers around the country began buying and using ladybugs to control pests on their farms. Today people buy ladybugs in smaller amounts to release into their gardens to have healthy plants without having to use pesticides. You can get some from your local nursery or garden center to use in your garden. You can also order ladybugs online.

The best ladybug species to use in the garden or on a farm are called hippodamia convergens.


You can recognize these ladybugs by the two white dashes that are on the back of its body above the hard wing casings. These ladybugs can eat a ton of aphids in no time, and they will stick around to protect your garden for a long time, too. However, only the ones that don’t fly off as soon as you release them will make your garden a home, so be sure to get more than you think you need to accommodate for the runaway ladybugs.

You can start your own ladybug rearing farm to make sure that you always have enough ladybugs for your garden. There are ladybug farming kits that you can buy at some lawn and garden stores who sell ladybugs during the spring and summer seasons, or you can order a ladybug farm online any time of the year.
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Luci Dawson

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Ladybugs

Post  curio on 3/16/2012, 6:41 pm

The only trouble with most ladybugs sold in nurseries is that within a day or so, they've migrated away from the yard they were released in, or have been snatched up by birds.
I think it's a better idea to just encourage the native bugs to want to be in your yard and gardens.
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curio

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Re: How ladybugs can help your garden

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 3/16/2012, 11:14 pm

curio wrote:The only trouble with most ladybugs sold in nurseries is that within a day or so, they've migrated away from the yard they were released in, or have been snatched up by birds.
I think it's a better idea to just encourage the native bugs to want to be in your yard and gardens.

The ladybugs will leave a garden if there isn't a food source there.
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Re: How ladybugs can help your garden

Post  quiltbea on 3/16/2012, 11:38 pm

I was told when ladybugs arrive, to release them under a netted cage for a few days over some plants with aphids or some food source. They need to get acclimated. If you just release them, they could go anywhere and you could have none left in your garden in a day or two.
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good tip for ladybugs

Post  curio on 3/17/2012, 12:03 am

That's a good tip, thanks Smile I might have to try that this year if we get some.
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Re: How ladybugs can help your garden

Post  shannon1 on 3/17/2012, 1:48 am

I will have these on the 29th hopefuly

Sta-HomeTM Lady Beetles
They stay longer in your garden, cleaning up aphids and other pests!

Adult lady beetles and their larvae are an excellent, non-chemical way to control aphids, Colorado potato beetles (egg stage) and other insect pests in your garden. But unlike the lady beetles sold by most other companies, ours are:


  • screened to remove parasitoid-infested beetles
  • ready to lay eggs the day you release them
  • hungry for pests!

Our Sta-Home Lady Beetles arrive healthy and ready to feed on pests! Females immediately lay eggs, which provide a second wave of pest eaters within a week.

when we were kids we thought it was good luck if a lady bug landed on you.
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Re: How ladybugs can help your garden

Post  BetsyC on 5/8/2012, 7:55 pm

Shannon, did you ever try the ladybugs? It looks tempting to me!
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Re: How ladybugs can help your garden

Post  Mary Lee on 6/10/2012, 9:16 am

Does anyone know where I can purchase ladybugs in Southeastern WI area?
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