Did you know you can actually buy ladybugs? I didn’t either but I was determined to find out why and how.
Ladybugs eat other insects, most of which are considered pests to humans. Ladybugs are the ultimate natural bug repellent and since they eat pest insects, including aphids, which are actually a main part of the ladybug’s diet, they are often called a “gardener’s best friend”. Some gardens attract lots of ladybugs but if your garden doesn’t, don’t worry, you can just buy them at your local garden centers and online at Amazon.com.
Note: If you purchase your ladybugs online, make sure you read the reviews. Some customers have mentioned they received more dead ladybugs than live. Choose a company that has a high rating and ships the ladybugs fast.
If you purchase ladybugs online, leave the container sealed and place them in a refrigerator, or other cool place. This calms the ladybugs down from their shipping experience. Ladybugs usually like a moist place so they can find water. If necessary, sprinkle some water around first before you release them. Once they have established themselves in our garden, they will get moisture from eating aphids and other “juicy” plant pests.
When you purchase ladybugs, they are in somewhat of a dormant state. When the temperature is about 59 degrees Fahrenheit, lady bugs become active. Ladybugs hibernate in cold weather. They are kept in a refrigerator in the garden center. Take them home and wait until dusk and then release half of the ladybugs. Within minutes of putting them in your garden they will starting waking up and crawling around. Since ladybugs don’t fly at night, releasing them around dusk will help keep them in your yard and reduce the chance they will fly off and since a ladybug’s top flying speed is about fifteen miles per hour, you may risk losing them if you place them outside too early. Releasing them at dusk also let’s them settle in for the night, find food and water and realize your garden makes a great home.
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. They will feed on other pests, but are best known to eliminate the aphid population, and are one of the most active predators. They will search from dawn to dusk for food. One adult ladybug will consume over 5,000 aphids in their lifetime.
We purchased a container of live ladybugs at Van Wilgen’s Garden Center in North Branford. Each container contains approximately 150 to 1,500 ladybugs depending on the size container you buy. They give you extra because not all of them will survive.
Adult ladybug will live up to one to two years so purchasing a container of ladybugs ensures that your garden will stay pest-free.
You can attract ladybugs into your garden by setting up a ladybug house but did you now you can also buy live ladybugs?