5 Easy Ways to Attract Ladybugs to Your Garden – and Encourage them to Stay!
Ladybugs are a big help to organic gardeners because they spend their days eating destructive garden pests, including aphids, whiteflies, cabbage moths, and mites. Thanks to their voracious appetites, ladybugs are considered beneficial insects by gardeners who want to control pest populations without using toxic pesticides.
If you need to boost the ladybug population in your garden, here are five easy ways to attract ladybugs to your garden and encourage them to make themselves at home:
1. Embrace Organic Practices
Toxic pesticides do not discriminate. They kill beneficial insects just as readily as the negative ones. Therefore, eliminating the use of any type of pesticide in and around your home is a good first step toward attracting more ladybugs to your garden.
2. Provide Decoy Plants
Aphids are the primary source of food for ladybugs and they need a steady supply of these pests to survive. These opportunistic pests are happy to devour your prized vegetable plants, but they are attracted to certain plants, such as mustard and nasturtium, more than others. By planting these “decoy plants” in one section of your garden, you can entice aphids to target them instead of your more desirable plants. This will create a concentrated all-you-can-eat buffet for ladybugs, while diverting aphids away from the rest of your garden.
3. Grow Pollen-Producing Plants
Although ladybugs prefer to feast on smaller insects, they are drawn to certain plants as well. For example, ladybugs love culinary herbs, such as parsley, dill, and fennel, and flowering plants including angelica, marigolds, sweet alyssum, yarrow, calendula, coneflowers and cosmos. Grow a variety of these plants in and around your garden to entice more ladybugs to stay.
4. Provide Adequate Shelter
Ladybugs are rather minimalistic creatures in that they don’t require a fancy place to live. Decomposing logs, adequate ground cover, or leafy bushes can serve as a place to hide from predators, while shallow plates of water strategically placed around your garden provide much-needed moisture for them.
5. Purchase Ladybugs
If you ever have a large scale aphid infestation, you will need a large number of ladybugs to control them. If the natural population of ladybugs in your area is insufficient, you can purchase some for your garden. For best results, keep the ladybugs refrigerated until you are ready to release them because they do not thrive at room temperature. Be sure to adequately research the seller before you purchase to make sure they don’t have a history of shipping unhealthy specimens.
By doing some or all of these five things, you should soon notice more ladybugs in your garden, and they will do their part to help control the insect pests in your yard.