Lady Bugs Are Your #1 Natural Pest Control
By James Ellison
First, this bug has many names. Some of it’s names are: lady bugs, ladybugs, lady beetle, Asiatic lady beetle, Asian Lady Beetle, Asian Lady Bugs, and Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle. The Ladybird Beetle is the correct name for a Lady bug and are not bugs but are beetles. Worldwide there are nearly 5,000 different kinds of ladybugs of which 400 are found in North America. The Convergent Lady Beetle is the most common beneficial species of Ladybird beetle in North America.
The life cycle of all Lady Bugs are mainly the same. The eggs are laid in the spring. When they hatch the larvae will feed for a couple of weeks and then pupate into adults. During the winter they will hibernate or will have died in the fall. Springtime they awake to feed and lay more eggs again.
As a form of biological pest control Lady Bugs are widely used and are the best known. Besides eating their favorite food aphids they also eat mites, scales, whitefly, mealybugs and most other soft insects. They are known to eat cabbage moths, bollworms, tomato hornworms and broccoli worms. These bugs will eat up to 1,000 aphids in it’s lifetime in both their larvae and adult stages.
The most common complaint against the Lady Bug is that when they are released they will fly off and let the aphids have their feast with your roses and tomato plants. But really only a part of your release will venture off, the rest will eat all the aphids they can find and then maybe fly off.
There are a couple of tricks you can do to keep your Ladybugs:
- Only release the ladybugs in the evening since they are not known to fly at night when it is cooler.
- Take a can of soda and mix it with equal amounts of water and spray on the Lady Bugs just before you release them. The sugar will make the wings sticky for just a couple days so they will hang around at least for awhile and eat the pests. Since Lady Beetles claim certain areas home they will stay in your yard and make it their home and the females will start laying eggs in and around your garden.
What about Lady Beetles in the house?
We are glad to have these beetles hang around and control the pests just like mother nature intended. If they stay at your place over winter they will look for a nice cozy place to stay and that is where your home comes into the picture.
These bugs don’t seem to have any logic to picking a house they just have found yours and they like it there. In the yard and garden they were welcome guests, in your home not so welcome. What we want to do is ask the lady bugs to leave. They don’t speak our language.
-So a few suggestions to try-
- Get out your vacuum cleaner and find the hose attachment.
- Get a nylon stocking and place it inside the hose with the top of the stocking overlapping the end of the hose and place the hose attachment end nozzle on this to keep the stocking on.
- Start the vacuum and get the bugs cleaned up. This will keep the bugs alive and then you can take them outside and release in another area away from your home. Refrigerate for next spring or give them to a friend with a green house.
The ladybugs may be a problem outside the house also, help them relocate by:
- Spray water at them with the garden hose.
- Use your leaf blower and blow them away.
- Upset the lady bugs and eventually they will move on to another location.
Needless to say they are a very beneficial bug, but for some people bugs are not their favorite. They can be helpful and at the same time create a problem. What we need to do is learn to live with our tiny friends and make sure they stay around.