Want to know how to get ladybugs in your garden? First of all… quit spraying poison on the pests!
People have asked why I don’t do anything about the aphids on my grapes.
“Why not spray them?” is the usual question.
The answer is easy. Aphids breed faster than ladybugs and rapidly hit plague proportions… but… the ladybugs will usually catch up if you don’t spray. After a week or two, you’ll start seeing ladybugs and their larvae everywhere… and a week or two after that… the aphid issues have cleared up.
What most folks do is this: they see the aphids, they reach for poison, they kill the aphids (and the ladybugs that are just emerging)… and the beneficial predators never get a chance to balance things out the natural way. This leads to more problems with aphids in the future, since the population is now under your control, rather than nature’s.
I don’t even spray aphids with garlic water anymore. If they’re really bad, I spray them off with a blast from the hose. Otherwise, I just wait on the ladybugs to do it for me.
It’s not hard to get ladybugs in your garden – they’re out there, waiting for aphids to show up so they can snack on them. But if you make your garden a place of chemical warfare, you’re not going to have much luck keeping any beneficial insects around.
Add Habitat for Ladybugs
Leave weeds around in patches outside your garden. Just an un-mown area is a great habitat for good guys.
Country farms used to leave hedgerows for wildlife long ago, before factory farming pushed right to the edges of the field to garden maximum profits. Perennial beds, food forests, even ornamental hedges – provided, again, they aren’t sprayed with toxins – leave space for ladybugs and their babies.
Buying and releasing ladybugs really isn’t necessary. Just make your garden a friendly place and they’ll arrive and start snacking.
I wish all my garden visitors would eat a few aphids.
For more on ladybugs and aphid control, check out this video I posted a little while back: