Attracting Ladybugs to Control Ravaging Aphids

Attracting ladybugs is one of the top wishes for many organic gardeners. Having them in the garden will help to eliminate destructive pests like aphids, mites and scale. Getting these beneficial bugs to come to your garden, and more importantly stay in your garden, is easy once you know a few simple facts and tricks.

The number one thing that will help attract ladybugs to your yard is food. These little predators eat two things: insect pests and pollen. They need both to survive and when these things are in abundance, these wonderful bugs will happily relocate to your garden. There are several pollen plants that they like. The blooms on these plants normally have flat flowers (like landing pads) and tend to be white or yellow.

Herbs with these ‘landing pad’ leaves include Chives, Cilantro, Dill, and Fennel. Flowers with these type leaves include Calendula, Marigold, Statice, Sweet Alyssum, and Yarrow.

The other half of getting ladybugs to come to your garden is to make sure they have enough bugs to eat. While it may seem counterproductive, leaving aphids and other pests alone will help with attracting ladybugs.

Plant Some “Sacrifice” Plants

It may be helpful to plant decoy plants that will attract and provide aphids while you keep your desired plants bug free until the ladybugs come to do it for you. Plants that can be used as aphid-attracting decoy plants include: Early cabbage, Marigold, Radish, and Nasturtium (these are aphids’ favorite).

Another thing you can do to help bring ladybugs to the garden is to eliminate use of insecticides. Insecticides will kill these beneficial bugs the same as they will kill harmful bugs. Placing shallow plates of water for them to drink out will also help attract them. You can also build bug houses to provide shelter for your treasured bugs.

Tips for Keeping Ladybugs in the Garden

Sometimes, rather than wait for them to appear in our garden, it’s easier and faster to simply purchase some ladybugs. The problem then becomes, how do we keep what we just purchased in our garden after we release them? First, realize that the same things that you do to attract ladybugs will also help keep them in your yard. Making sure that there is food, shelter and water will go a long way to making your garden look like a good place to settle down and lay eggs (which means more of them). Second, you need to help give yourself a day or so to convince them that your garden is a good place to live. When you receive your ladybugs, place them in the fridge for a six to eight hours. This will slow them down (but will not kill them) and keep them from flying right off when you open the container. Third, make sure you release them at the right time. Twilight hours are the best time to release ladybugs, as again, they will be less likely to fly off. Right after dusk or right before dawn is the perfect time to let your ladybugs go.

Whenever we can use natural resources to control unwanted bugs can reduce the use of pesticides, ultimately keeping our environment and our waterways safer for future generations.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Tips To Attract Ladybugs To Your Garden