Is your garden being overrun by aphids? These tiny pests can suck the life out of so many of the plants you worked hard to cultivate. There is a very simple and organic way to address this problem, and it can even be fun! Ace Hardware of Fort Collins just got in a shipment of ladybugs. Buy a container for less than $10 and then release them in your garden to attack the bad bugs!
What are Ladybugs?
Ladybugs are typically red with black dots, although they can be found in other colors as well. Many are yellow or black. They live for about a year and lay eggs. The eggs will hatch as larvae and feed for about three weeks, so they are laid near food sources. Ladybugs eat other insects including mealy bugs, leaf hoppers, mites, larvae, and aphids. Adult ladybugs can eat up to 50-60 aphids per day, making them effective at bringing down ‘bad bug’ populations.
How to Keep them Around?
The biggest argument against using ladybugs as a method of removing pests is that they fly away as soon as they are released. Since they are insects, they will naturally fly to where there is food. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure they stick around your garden!
Before releasing ladybugs, water down your plants. Ladybugs are often dehydrated after being in their containers for so long and they will be ready for water. Wet your plants and then release the ladybugs at night. They will stay there at least for the night and have time to crawl up the plants and begin hunting for food. Lastly, make sure that there is food for them to eat! You can look for aphids on your plants. If there is a large amount, ladybugs may be the solution for you.
Of course, some ladybugs will fly away. There is no way to keep 100% of your ladybugs in an outdoor garden. If you continue to have issues with aphids, try another batch of ladybugs in about two weeks. If there is sufficient food for them, the ladybugs will stick around and even lay their eggs in your garden. This will ensure that you will have ladybugs for years to come!
How to Release Them
The ladybugs that we provide at your local Ace Hardware of Fort Collins are brought in from California. Each container holds about 1500 ladybugs! They will come refrigerated. The cold simulates winter, a time when ladybugs are dormant. When you are ready to release them, mist them with a little water and bring to room temperature. Do not heat up your ladybugs, let them gradually warm by sitting in room temperature air. Then, wait until the evening to scatter them into your garden!
Grab your ladybugs today at Ace Hardware of Fort Collins, located at 1001 E Harmony Rd. If you’d like to learn more about this green way of controlling bugs in your garden, ask one of our helpful associates. Good luck out there!