We hear a lot about the "good guys" in the garden but this is a "good gal" that often gets overlooked. Ladybug or sometimes, ladybird, beetles are one of those beneficial insects that we need to foster in our gardens.

Both as attractive adults and as their ugly larvae, ladybug beetles do a fine job of feeding on aphids that are attacking our plants. There are several hundred different species of ladybugs in varying sizes and color combinations.

Ladybugs are commercially available and may be purchased to be delivered to your house in the mail. It sounds like such a great idea to have your garden filled with these voracious defenders. Unfortunately, it does not always work out the way we plan.

You have to remember that, even though you bought and paid for these beetles, they owe you no allegiance what so ever. Their only goals in life are to eat aphids and reproduce. So, in order to keep them in your garden, you have to have a crop of aphids growing on your plants. Once the aphids are gone...so are the ladybug beetles. Since they have wings, they simply fly away in search of more prey.

As with all beneficial insects, they will thrive and increase in numbers only when their prey is also thriving. When the prey declines, so will the predators, i.e. ladybugs. Also, to make this strategy work, you need to avoid or, at least be very careful, with the use of non-selective pesticides which can kill the beneficials as well as the bad guys.

Obviously, no treatments needed!

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

 

Types of Insects

"Name That Bug Page"

 

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