Not only are ladybugs cute, but they are beneficial to gardeners. Often gardeners wonder how to bring ladybugs to the yard? The simple answer is to hope for garden problems in the form of pests that feel ladybugs.
Ladybugs, or lady beetles as they are sometimes called, are helpful in vegetable and flower gardens mainly because they love to eat aphids and other garden pests. Aphids are one of the worst pests gardeners deal with. When aphids begin to show up on leaves, flowers and buds, they ring the dinner bell for ladybugs.
Unfortunately as gardeners, we have to have unwanted bugs in order to get these beneficials to the yard. It makes sense. Ladybugs (and other beneficial insects) go where the food is.
Don’t use chemicals on the garden and in the yard or you may never see these good bugs. Killing everything with man-made chemicals means the beneficials stay away as well as the nasties.
Take the hose and spray water on leaves of aphid infested plants to help alleviate the problem. Unless the aphid problem is overwhelming to the point the plant it suffering, leave them as is and watch for signs of natural predators – ladybugs in their various forms.
Life Stages of a Lady Bug
My hibiscus plant has a bunch of aphids on the buds and leaves. I also saw signs of lady bugs in the form of larvae, pupa, and as adults. The larvae were chowing down on the aphids. I read somewhere that a single ladybug (in larvae or beetle form) eat 50 aphids a day. (All photos below are mine, except the first one. I didn’t find any eggs in my yard to photograph.)
Once the eggs hatch, they become long black bugs with six legs and red or yellow markings. Sometimes they have spikes on their backs. The larvae can look a bit frightening if you don’t know what it is. And because there are many types of ladybugs, the larvae varies. Do a search for “ladybug larvae” and see the variety before you kill those strange looking bugs. You could be ruining your chances to have ladybugs in the garden.
Ladybugs (or their eggs or larvae) can appear on any plants that need aphid (or other pest) removal. The many-spotted beetle in my photo below traveled all over one of the eggplant flowers as I took some photos.
Aphids regularly bother my hibiscus. They are also known to congregate on roses. I have occasionally had aphids on my eggplant, bell pepper and hot pepper plants. They have also shown up on my Persian lime tree. Usually they are heaviest at the new growth areas, flowers and buds. Aphids come in a variety of colors!
I tend to agree with this article which tells us Why You Must Learn to Love Aphids.
Learn about companion planting to both repel aphids and unwanted pests, and attract beneficial insects. In short, we must put up with the “bad” to also have the “good”.