Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ladybugs in the Garden

Release!  Release!  Off you go, pretty Ladybugs!  These beautiful and beneficial predators feed on Aphids found on many plants including roses and Crepe Myrtles.  They also feed on slow moving garden pests.  It is not recommended to use herbicides, pesticides, and other poisons along with these bugs.  They are a must for organic gardening.

When I was working, my office mates talked about their yards, apple orchards, and flower beds.  They used mail order ladybugs to control unwelcome pests.  So when my husband and I retired and moved back to our home in Florida, we went to the local seed store and asked if they had ladybugs for sale.  They wanted to know where we came from.

Consequently, I got in touch with Hirt's Garden and they sent me 1500 live ladybugs with explicit instructions for release.  The ladybugs were sent by mail and the package fit the mailbox just fine.  1500 bugs sound like a lot and it is plenty for a home garden or a small green house.  When I received the package, I gently opened the box and the ladybugs.  I left the ladybugs in their cloth pouch and stored them in the fridge over the night for release early the following morning at sun rise.

The azaleas were in bloom for the ladybugs, the citrus trees were beginning to put out their blooms, and the wind created pollen clouds from the cedar trees--good food for the ladies.  The ladybugs thus had plenty of nectar for a scrumptious feast upon their release in the early morning.  To wash it all down, there was plenty of water available on the azaleas and roses to quench their thirst after their long journey and being cooped up in the fridge.

I later read that the evening might be a better time to release the ladybugs so that they could make themselves comfortable during the night, find food and shelter.

To make sure that the ladybugs stayed in the garden, the good people at Hirt's Garden suggested to spray their wings with sugar water, or cola diluted with water to prevent them from flying away.  Initially, I thought this might be cruel, but the solution will wear away in a week.

The ladybugs were released under the best circumstances but a few days later, we had heavy rain at the beach, followed by windy conditions, and finally a cold snap with frost.  Guess what?  The ladybugs must have flown to warmer climes.  Say, have you seen them?

1 comment:

  1. This spring, we again added lady bugs, but they also flew away! We won't do that again. That does not mean it can't be effective where you live.