Use Ladybugs In Garden?

gardenathome(9B/10)April 10, 2010

We have several citrus trees, and of course a veggie garden :-), and would like to know if we should purchase a can of ladybugs at Walmart to introduce to our garden. They are supposed to be beneficial insects but we do not know a good source to get them from or if we should even use them in the garden. :-)

Any cons or negatives to doing this? Thank you so much!

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

No, you shouldn't purchase them. They are genetically programmed to fly away when released.

A better strategy is to grow healthy plants, and enhance your garden environment wit minimal to no pesticides plus lots of small flower -- perennial candytuft is one choice -- for the beneficial insects that will come.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 2:59PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

If you don't spray pesticides you will get ladybugs without any work. I have seen hundreds at a time in my backyard.

Scott

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:21PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

jean and scott are right. I have not sprayed chemicals in my yard and there are hundreds of ladybugs. I catch them and release them on my citrus trees in the hope that they are natural predators of the CLM pests. But, then, I volunteer in a community garden which is riddled with pesticide and all kinds of sprays and there is not a single ladybug out there.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 8:02PM
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gardenathome(9B/10)

We are located in SoCAL, Zone 10 but we've hardly seen any ladybugs. We haven't used any pesticides in our garden. Just RoundUp to get rid of some weeds.

Hmm... I suppose we will hold off on purchasing any ladybugs for the time being and hope nature will bring some along! :-)

Thanks everyone!!!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 8:53PM
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christine97(z7b MD)

There is a book called Good Bugs Bad bugs that I picked up from the library. It goes into details about the different bugs, what they eat and other ways besides the beneficial bugs to keep the unwanteds down. Plus there are probably other bugs that eat the same things ladybugs do in your area.

Wish you luck, we seem to have a ton of them also, they seem to love our Wye oak tree. Last summer we saw the larva for the first time and were amazed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Good bugs link at amazon

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 8:24PM
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organicislandfarmer(9)

I bought some lady bugs before reading this and they totally solved my aphid problem! Yes quite a few flew away but many have stayed. I feel that I added to my neighborhood and maybe those ladys will return one day. I am impressed by them. If I didnt want them to fly away I could cover the infected plants with netting. If you dont have the ladybugs and you do have the pests then buying them is the way to go. Genetically bred to fly away, its a predator, if there is food that is where it will be.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 11:17PM
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gardenathome(9B/10)

Thanks, everyone for your help!!! :-)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 12:20AM
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thisisme(az9b)

I live in AZ and never saw a single lady bug or a green lacewing the first five years I lived here. Then I purchased 1,500 lady bugs and 1,000 green lacewing eggs. I followed the instructions and let the lady bugs go on my trees at night when they would not fly away. I also sprayed some water on the trees with a squirt bottle to give them something to drink so they would not have a reason to go.
That was 5 years ago and I have had lots of lady bugs and green lacewings in my garden every since. My trees where being infested with San Jose scale, aphids and whiteflies this year. I was going to spray but put Tanglefoot on my trees while I researched the safest pesticides. After I put the Tanglefoot on I sprayed my trees with water to knock off all the bugs I could. As luck would have it the lady bugs and green lacewings are now thriving, the Tanglefoot is full of ants and bad bugs. No need for pesticides anymore.

I put the lady bugs out a little at a time over a weeks period. They stay fairly dormant in the refrigerator and get by on a little water squirted in the bag from a spray bottle. A lot flew away the next day I'm sure but some stayed and each day I put out more and each day some more would stay.

I purchased mine from the company in the link below because they are close to me and insects have a short shelf life. If they sit in a hot mail box they won't last very long and all you will have is a box full of dead bugs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Insects

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 2:00AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

My story with ladybugs:

I spray like mad and still get lots of ladybugs. In the early spring they die and accumulate inside under our windows. I suppose they overwinter in our attic.

Early on, when I was into the organic thing, I believe it was Gardens Alive that ran a special on lady bugs. My wife and I got a 1000 of them. We released them and never told a soul. Later that fall, one of the neighbors was complaining of all the ladybuds around. We just listened and suppressed our laughs.

Strangely, the asian lady beetle has become a pest in wine grapes. Apparently, they hide in the bunches and give an off-flavor to the wine when squeezed. Something like one or two ladybugs per ton is enough to cause rejection of loads. Several insecticides have recently been registered to control asian lady beetle in wine grapes.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 7:47PM
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maryneedssleep(5a (PA))

I bought some ladybugs a couple years ago for the (organic) veggie garden. They ate some aphids then mostly disappeared. The aphid population quickly recovered, although I only saw a few ladybugs all summer.

I've heard if you want to increase the chances of ladybugs staying around, you need to control the ant population. Controlling the ants may itself help control aphids if you're finding ants around aphids in your fruit trees. I tried Tanglefoot sticky barriers around the fruit trees last year. It seemed to help, but it wasn't enough of a test to really say much. The Tanglefoot seemed difficult to work with so I'm not sure if I'll use it again.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:38PM
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tbaleno

Just to add to the conversation. I saw asian ladybugs on my fruit trees and started googling to see if this was good or bad. Thats how I found this thread. Apparently it is a good thing from what everyone is saying (even though I hate when they get in the house.) I think the reason I saw them in the trees is because this year I used tanglefoot. I have a lot of ants in my yard. I have so many ants it looks like a war zone with all their ant holes. The problem with ants is they like the secretions of the aphids so they will protect the aphids from the ladybugs. So you need to make sure the ants aren't attacking the ladybugs or releasing ladybugs probably won't do much.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 11:53AM
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