Updated: Sep 2, 2018
We have a short list of bugs we are willing to handle and interact with. One of our late spring rituals is to release lady bugs in the garden, which feels like a party. We welcome them, and I think next year we'll also play music! We order ours online, but you can also check your local garden store.
Not only are ladybugs one of the cutest bugs, they are natural enemies of many pests. They eat mites, whitefly, scales, mealy bugs and other soft insects, but are well-known for controlling aphids.
Aphids feed in colonies on plants' twigs, branches and new growth. They descend on garden crops and ornamental plants, and an infestation usually causes plant leaves to curl and dry out. They also leave a residue on the plants causing damaging mold.
Release them on a cool evening or night to discourage them from flying away from your garden. Before you gently spread them around, water the plants in those areas, as ladybugs like water drops and high humidity. Be sure you have some of the plants they like in your garden, as well.
Bringing ladybugs into your yard and garden is a fun ritual that helps children connect with nature. For my daughter, it was also a nice way to interact with insects, which she is generally really afraid of. All summer long we see the ladybugs and say hello to them like old friends. Super cute.
Some plants that ladybugs like:
Queen Anne’s Lace