Friday, 10 September 2010

My quest for a ladybug

This summer I had small problem dealing with aphids, they appeared one day and took over my garden. Most were on the strawberries, but later they moved to the calla lily, the roses and the peppers. I managed to get rid of them, but not without some struggle. In the end my best ally were ladybugs.

Tinny ladybug

Ladybugs are great for the garden

When the aphids just appeared I tried to kill them manually, not the best idea, it took too long I could not kill all of them. The problem started to get serious, so I decided I needed some help. Because the strawberries were about to bloom I didn't want to use chemicals or any unnatural to take care of them. I remembered that ladybugs are great aphid eaters (you don’t imagine that such a cute bug could be so voracious, but they certainly are), and figure out they could easily take care of the pest. The only question back then was, where could I find some ladybugs?

Luckily those early days of summer every time I stay up late with the lights on and the window open, at least one (but usually more) little ladybug sneak into the room and try to get cozy next to the light bulbs. The only problem was that early in the morning at the first chance they flew out the window to never been seen again.

So, how could I keep the ladybugs from running away? I did some research on line and I found out a lot of information about how to attract ladybugs and how to release them effectively on the garden. Based on that I figured out I could catch some of those that went in overnight and let them free the next morning with some incentives to stay.

The next night I caught a couple and got them in the fridge to lower their temperature and make them sleepy (don’t worry it doesn't harm them), then the next morning I release them on the strawberries. I had to repeat the process for several days, because they didn't stay long enough to eat all and the aphids keep reproducing.

My ladyfriend

Ladybugs like raisins

I was starting to get frustrated because they didn't finish them all until one day I discovered one of them had laid some eggs. That was perfect, It would be even better than adults, ladybug larvae eats aphids as good as an adult ladybug and they can't fly, so they stay until the job is done. Later that week those eggs hatched and there were some little baby ladybugs roaming around my plants.

My garden June 15, 2010-2

A little ladybug larvae searching for more food

I let them go around freely, I only move them from one site to another whenever they finish all the food in one plant. They ate like crazy and finished all aphids in two days, It was really amazing to see them at work.

One of the best advices I can give to any gardeners is to make friends with the ladybugs. They are one of the best beneficial insects for the garden, they help a lot with pests, a little with pollination, and they are very pretty to look at. I would recommend everybody to make their garden appealing for them.

I think in the future I would make a little ladybug house for my garden, it would help them to have a place to stay over winter, they are pretty easy to make and is always good to count on some lady friends to help with the garden.


  1. We call them ladybirds in the UK and you can actually buy the larvae or adult ladybirds as biological control.

    We had frogs living on our strawberries which are good friends to have to keep down pests too

  2. Yes, it's amazing how many aphids they can get through in a day. I think it's really important for gardeners to make their garden more wildlife friendly as there are so many benefits to having beneficial insects around.

  3. Yes they are a great help. I try to have a wildlife friendly garden, but it's hard to get animals come up here.

    It would be nice to have some frogs to help me though, my strawberries would be alive now if i had.

  4. Hey that's cool, how clever of you to attract and release them, and even neater that they reproduced :)

  5. That pic of the ladybug on a raisin is too cute. This year we had more ladybugs in the yard so it helped a lot to keep the aphid population down.

  6. Interesting blog. I didn't know ladybugs like raisins. Could that ladybug mistaken the raisin for a female ladybug??? :)

    I enjoy taking photos of insects. Have lots of them including ladybugs in my blog.

  7. yeah is so cute! haha
    they like to suck the sweetness out of it, or maybe they do think is a ladyladybug

  8. Love that you took so much effort to find an environmentally friendly solution to aphids. I have on occasion used a garlic spray to control them - but I like your method way more.

  9. We have aphids as well and few ladybugs in our yard. I am going to put some raisins out for them and see if they are attracted.

    I am also putting a ladybug home together so I will have it up in the yard shortly. If it's too late for this year I am hoping it will be used next spring.

  10. Be careful with raisins in gardens where dogs may have access to the raisins. Raisins and grapes are toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause renal failure in dogs.


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