Release the Ladybugs

Dannette Hunnel

Aphids are bad for plants. Ladybugs will eat aphids. April is the time to purchase ladybugs at nurseries or online from direct ladybug suppliers.

The ladybugs (also known as lady beetles or convergent lady beetles) are collected from the foothills and mountains in California and therefore prefer the cooler, damp weather. The bags of bugs you’ll find for sale in this area will need to be lightly misted at home, then refrigerated to keep them all alive, hydrated, and hungry. Mist the bag then set on a paper towel for a half hour to lessen puddles and avoid drowning, then place the bag in the refrigerator.

After a day or two, in the late afternoon, spray water throughout your garden area. Immediately release the ladybugs into a wet garden just after sunset. Ladybugs only fly during the day, so releasing them after sunset into a wet garden will make them stay all night, eating your aphids off of your plants. Don’t release ladybugs on plants that have already been sprayed with pesticide, or the bugs will quickly die. Always release the ladybugs at the base of plants or in the crotches of bushes so the ladybugs crawl upward. Depending on your infestation, releasing a bag of ladybugs (lady beetles) may have to be done more than once, approximately a week apart. Most ladybugs will only stay in your garden about three to four days. Releasing the right amount of ladybugs in a small garden area is a healthier way to rid your garden of aphids, avoiding chemicals. The adult bugs are known to eat 50 or more aphids a day. Costs for a bag of ladybugs can run from approximately $5 for small bags to $45 for a larger bag of 1,500 ladybugs.