Lady Bug Management

Asked November 5, 2017, 4:43 PM EST

I want to release lacy bugs in my garden with the goal of keeping the aphid population to a minimum. Some guidance regarding purchase and implementation of the bugs.

Benton County Oregon aphids buying ladybugs lady beetle

1 Response

Thank you for wanting to limit aphids in your garden by using ladybugs. Unfortunately, purchasing and releasing ladybugs seldom works well.

For one thing, they are collected while dormant from the mountains in California and Mexico. When they “wake up,” they are genetically programmed to fly upwards, catch the prevailing breeze, then go elsewhere. The bottom line for purchased ladybugs is that they will leave within a day or so and, then, eat aphids elsewhere.

Fortunately, you can easily limit aphid populations while you wait for the nearby ladybugs to increase their populations and find their way to your place. Squish the aphids when they’re just a few. Blast them off plants with a harsh water spray. Or use insecticidal soap, diluted according to label directions.

Then, too, you can encourage the ladybugs and the many other beneficial insects already at your place if you grow healthy plants; and minimize, or stop, using pesticides. See “A Pocket Guide to Common Natural Enemies” to learn those beneficial insects already at your place.