Previously we talked about maintaining a ladybug free home, while these insects may be unwanted indoors, they can be very beneficial in your garden. Ladybugs are capable of consuming up to 50 to 60 aphids per day but will also eat a variety of other insects and larvae including scales, mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, mites, and various types of soft-bodied insects. Ladybugs, also called lady beetles or ladybird beetles, are a very beneficial group of insects. Ladybugs are natural enemies of many insect pests and it has been demonstrated that a single lady bug may consume as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.
If you decide that you would like to take advantages of what these creatures do for your garden here are some tips to attract them:
You may want to start with planting things that ladybugs find attractive such as umbrella shaped flowers such as fennel, dill, cilantro, caraway, angelica, tansy, wild carrot, yarrow, cosmos, coreopsis, scented geraniums, and dandelions. You can also promote ladybug populations by elimination of spraying insecticides. Not only are ladybugs sensitive to most synthetic insecticides, but if the majority of their food source is gone, they won’t lay their eggs in your garden. As difficult as it may be, allowing aphids to live on certain plants is necessary to ensure that there is enough food for ladybugs. In addition, resist the urge to squish bugs & eggs in the garden, unless you’re certain that they are not beneficial.