Using Beneficial Insects to Control Pests
Protect your plants, naturally.
Did you know that 95% of all known insects are beneficial to humankind? In addition, the Lady bug, one of the more popular beneficial insects, can eat about 80 aphids a day? Plus, the nutrients in aphids are necessary for the Ladybug to make healthy babies. An adult Ladybug will lay about 1500 eggs during her lifespan, and she will place her eggs in the middle of an aphid colony to ensure her babies survival.
The proper use of beneficial insects has been proven as an effective and efficient alternative to the application of pesticides in the greenhouse. Using beneficial insects not only lowers the populations of pests, but is also safer for your plants. Before adding any insects to the environment, you should consider these six points:
1. Carefully identify the target pest populations because many predatory bugs are geared to go after only certain other insects.
2. Only buy the insects from qualified suppliers.
3. Do not use residual pesticides up to a month before releasing the new beneficial insects.
4. Release the new insects when the population of the target pest is at a low level and, if possible, when the bulk of them are in a vulnerable stage in their life cycle.
5. Keep and maintain a suitable environment for the beneficial insects. Make sure your greenhouse environment favors them over the pests.
6. Be sure that you can identify your beneficial insects in all stages of life so that you don't end up considering them a problem after their release.
1. What are some other ladybug facts?
95% Of all insects are beneficial to humankind.
The ladybug antennae are incredible. They are use for sensing, and must be kept clean.
The ladybug uses its legs to clean the antennae.
The ladybug has two sets of wings.
The exoskeleton elytra, and underneath those wings are the flying wings.
Their colors help to protect them from predators.
Ladybugs are bright colors like red and black, which tells predators that the ladybugs might not be tasty!
Ladybugs will also play dead to protect themselves. They can also release a fluid that makes the
predator go away, just like skunks do!
After the predator leaves, the ladybug returns to her normal activities.
The ladybug got her name from farmers in Europe during the middle ages. The ladybugs helped to save the farmers crops that were being destroyed by pests.
If we allow nature to do what is intended to do, our gardens, crops, and foods can grow
and thrive in a non-toxic environment, that will feed us and future generations.
An adult lady bug can eat about 80 aphids per day.
A ladybug will lay about 1500 eggs during her lifespan. She will place her eggs in the middle of an
aphid colony to ensure her babies survival.
Ladybug babies will eat about 25 aphids per day even in their larvae stage.
2. What are the lady bug life stages?
Adult ladybug lays egg
(5 days later)
The ladybug larvae hatches, it looks like a small black alligator, and will sit on leaves and eat insects.
(17 days later)
The larvae turns into the pupae.
(6 days later)
The young adult ladybug emerges to start the cycle again.
3. Can I use lady bugs for my greenhouse?
You can use lady bugs in a greenhouse anytime the temperatures are above freezing. You may need to add ladybugs two or three times each growing season because some will escape or be carried out on plants. Green Lacewing Butterflies are a great options for humid environments such as greenhouses, please see our product lists for info on them.
4. When can I put out ladybugs in my part of the country?
Lady bugs can be put out almost anytime of the year except if the temperatures are consistently below freezing in the daytime. Most people put them out from March through October. If there is a food source for them then they can be released.
5. Should I spray sugar water on their wings?
No. This is a myth that can very easily kill the ladybugs by blocking their breathing tubes.
6. There are ladybugs infesting my house. Where did they come from and how do I get rid of them?
There is a variety of ladybug from Asia called Japanese Ladybugs (not the same ladybug we sell). They were imported to combat a specific kind of pest that was afflicting citrus trees and have made their home in America. They have a habit of infesting peoples houses in the winter months to escape the cold weather. They will sometimes just stay on the outside of the house or sometimes only go as far as the insides of walls. However, sometimes they will get inside through small cracks of gaps and cover walls or windows with hundreds of insects. At this time there is no effective way to get rid of the ladybugs except to sweep or vacuum them up and put them out of doors. They are a beneficial bug and should not be killed if at all possible.
7. I can't find any of the ladybugs that I released yesterday. Where are they?
The ladybugs will sometimes hide during the day when it is too hot. Try looking on the underside of foliage, or look during cooler times of the day such as early morning or late evening.
8. What about ladybug houses?
Ladybug houses are attractive garden or yard ornaments. The ladybugs may go inside for the winter to get some relief from adverse weather, but ladybug houses are not necessary for the health and safetyof the insects.
9. Where will ladybugs live?
Ladybugs will live almost anywhere in North America. They can take extremes of temperature and still propagate their young. They do well even in cold climates like Alaska and the upper Midwest.
10. Will the ladybugs 'fly away home'?
Ladybugs are like any wild creature, they have instincts for survival. This means that they will try to find suitable
food and habitat to sustain their lives. They will spread out to surrounding areas and lay eggs as they go.
11. What do ladybugs eat?
Ladybugs eat aphids (preferred), spider mites, thrips, whitefly and other small soft bodied pests.