Life Stages of the Ladybug With Photos

Ladybugs will eat aphids, but ladybugs appear in various forms. Know the larvae stage and let it live to eat those aphids.

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.
Continue reading “Life Stages of the Ladybug With Photos”

Dealing With Aphids and Hoping for Lady Bugs in the Spring Garden

Aphids in the garden and how to deal with them.

A while ago I had aphids on my lime tree. I simply sprayed them off and they went away.

Now I am dealing with aphids on my pepper plant and eggplant. I’m doing the same thing – spraying them off with water. Also I wipe them off with my fingers.  I never spray insecticides on anything in my yard.

But, the key here is to check for the presence of ladybugs – in all their life stages. I don’t want to get rid of those.  And, in order for ladybugs to choose your garden to lay her eggs, she wants to see some aphids for her children to eat.

So maybe I should be leaving the aphids there and see what happens?  A large aphid infestation can kill plants.  (Update: by May, every aphid was gone!)  Aphids suck the juice from the greenery. They excrete a sugary substance which then attracts ants, but ladybugs eat lots of aphids every day.

getting rid of aphids
Aphids on my pepper plant

These aphids were brown in color. Aphids can be many colors, such as green, black, brown, pink, yellow, white, and blue (really?) and even furry (wooly aphids).
The little buggers are even inside the white flowers on the pepper. And I recently purchased a hot pepper plant and noticed they were also on it.

aphids in pepper flower
Aphids inside pepper flower

Aphids in Their Many Colors

aphid colors
black aphids
green aphids
green aphids
pinkish red aphids
pink / red aphids
yellow aphids on lime tree
Yellow aphids on my Persian Lime tree
aphids on squash flower
Aphids on squash flower

Because I have a small garden with only one or two plants containing aphids, I can easily control them with a spray of water.  Or wait patiently for lady bugs to show up.

A natural way to destroy aphids is to have ladybugs eat them. Unfortunately the beautiful spotted ladies never seem to show up at the right time, or in large enough numbers.  Or could it be that the garden is not welcoming enough?  Or I am not patient enough!

black bug on pepper plant
Black bug on pepper plant could be ladybug larvae?  The clue: black bug with 6 legs and red to yellow markings, so I say “yes”

I will begin paying better attention to the eggs, bugs and pests in my garden.  In fact after writing this post, I went outside to check on my hibiscus.

Hibiscus plants are notorious for attracting aphids.  I figured there may be some and possibly some lady bugs or eggs.  Wow, was I in for a surprise when I saw my hibiscus infestation!

In the Yard End of December 2017

While the rest of the country is dealing with freezing temperatures (sorry), I was taking photos of my yard and garden in the December sunshine.

Yesterday, December 30th I decided to get some photos of happenings in the backyard. Because much of the northern part of the country is suffering with snow, ice and unbelievably cold temperatures (you have my sympathy), I felt lucky to be outside in the warm sunshine and 60 degree temps.

Today I wanted to write this short post to share what it’s like to be able to avoid winter and watch a garden grow literally year round. This is new for me and I am not trying to brag. I miss New England even though you must suffer through the bad winters. It’s beautiful there and quite boring and dull here in Florida – until the monotony is interrupted by a hurricane.

curly poinsettia in the ground
Poinsettia 2017 leftover from 2016

I know that my poinsettia is not looking all that good, but who knew a poinsettia could grow in the ground and live from year to year? I discovered this by walking around my new neighborhood and checking out the plants in yards I passed. People were growing poinsettias. So after last Christmas, when I bought this odd looking one, I put it out back in the pot and continued to water it. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I planted it in the ground next to the hibiscus. I was able to bring it in last year when the coldest weather hit, so we’ll see how it fares in the ground. Because it’s next to the house I think it will do fine.

ladybug macro
Ladybug on Eggplant Flower

I caught this pretty little ladybug crawling over an eggplant flower and decided to try to capture it on my iPhone. The blinding sun made it difficult to see as I took pictures, but finally I got into a good position where the shade wasn’t a problem. Then I took a bunch of photos as the sweet little bug crawled around the backside of this purple flower.
Ladybugs are the best. They are a gardener’s friend. But don’t try to eat them, they don’t taste good at all. I accidentally had one in my mouth once – and yuk.

eggplant tall tree
December 30th – My eggplant tree

The Eggplant plant is still going strong. I’ve eaten one eggplant from it. The leaves are truly gorgeous and I photographed them in hopes of doing a drawing one day soon.

December garden pepper plant
Green pepper plant in December

Never in my life have I been able to grow my own green peppers. But this fall I have eaten many from this plant. I also have a smaller plant which currently has white flowers on it (below). And I’ve used some hot jalapeño peppers occasionally too. I’m used to pulling up my vegetable plants by fall, but now I guess I will just let them keep growing and see what happens.

white buds on pepper plant
December – buds on the green pepper plant

Here in central Florida we are expecting some cold weather next week. I know, I know… I’ll get no sympathy for temps in the 30’s when many people don’t see anything above single digits, with wind chills well below zero. BUT… this is Florida and our plants are still growing and not accustomed to freezing.
We will have to bring inside what we can and cover the rest.

Lime tree in December
Lime tree – buds and new growth in December

One tree I will be moving indoors is my Persian Lime. I’ve eaten limes for weeks now – in October and November – and now I see there is new growth and buds on the tree!

Learning to garden and grow fruit in Florida is new to me, but I am open to learning new things. This blog is a journal of sorts to reference because I forget quickly what was blooming and when.

Happy New Year!