Ladybugs (Lady Beetle)
Commonly referred to as a "ladybug", the more correct title for this wonderful garden insect is lady beetle. That's because lady beetles are part of the taxonomic group of insects that includes beetles, not the group referred to as "true bugs".
Although lady beetles prefer to eat aphids, the are considered generalist predators - meaning they will eat just about any insect they come across as long as they are small enough. They will consume insects in both their larval stage and adult stage, making them one of the most beneficial insects to attract and keep in your garden.
Eggs (See photo on right)
Lady beetle eggs are elongated yellow spheres, usually found on the underside of leaves. If you see these on your plants, leave them be!
Larva (See photo on right)
Lady beetle larva look quite different than the adults so learning to recognize them is important so you don't accidentally get rid of the very important garden defender. The larva will consume aphids and won't leave the area when all pests are gone, unlike like the adults.
Ladybug adults are probably one of the most recognized insects in the garden. The adults consume insects in high numbers, but tend to jump around when they don't have sufficient food in the area.
How to attract ladybugs
Like most beneficial insects, ladybugs require good habitat and a food source. Lady bugs will feed on pollen of certain flowering plants so it's always smart to grow lots of plants in your garden and allow them to flower rather than harvest them. Plants that attract ladybugs include:
Alyssum, Buckwheat, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Hairy Vetch, Marigold, Queen Anne's Lace, and Yarrow
You can also purchase ladybugs for release, which is a fun project for kids! Arbico offers ladybugs for release at a good price compared to other pest control methods.
Click here to buy ladybugs for release into your garden
Pests controlled by ladybugs
Ladybug adults and larva will control the following pests:
Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies.
Purchase ladybugs for your garden