Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Return of the Ladybugs

Almost ten years ago, my husband and I asked the good people at the Seed Smith if they had any ladybugs.  They looked at us and wanted to know where we were from, meaning from what planet.  I was quite surprised to find that a garden center on the beach in NE Florida had ladybugs for sales and this is the time to release them.

Did you know that one in every four animals is a beetle?  Ladybugs don't like to live where it is cold, who does?  This information I learned from my granddaughter's Draw and Write book for grades 1 - 3.

These are steps on how to release you ladybugs into your garden:  Water your garden before releasing 1/3 of your ladybugs the first night, another 1/3 two nights later, and the rest two nights after that.  Refrigerate the remaining ladybugs in between.  You may also choose to do lots of small releases over  a 2 - 3 week period.

It is important to release the ladybugs after sundown, since ladybugs do not fly at night.  This gives them all night to settle in and find food and water.  If you release the ladybugs during the day, they will immediately fly away.  That's what I did last year and all 1,500 vanished.

If you choose ladybugs to combat aphids, shake the bugs out of the cup (or whatever container they may come in) in groups at the base of the plant.  Ladybugs always crawl up, I've bee told.

When storing the ladybugs, always keep them out of direct sunlight and as cool as possible.  They may be refrigerated (35 - 40 degrees F) for 2 to 3 weeks.  They hibernate at this temperature.

If not refrigerated, the ladybugs will need a little water.  Once each day, or two, or three, depending on the temperature.  Two or three shots of a fine mist is about right.  You want to moisten the wood shavings but not allow puddles at the bottom of the cups.

The above information is different from what I wrote last year.  To obtain ladybugs, ask your garden centers or check on line.

Thank you for visiting my blog. 

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