How to Attract Lady Beetles to Your Garden This Year

how-to-attract-lady-beetles-to-garden

 

Discover how to attract lady beetles to your garden this year with plant guides by variety and bloom time.

 

The Princess among the Peas

If the lion is the king of the jungle then the lady beetle is the princess of the garden.  This little insect,  which incidentally can be either male or female, works diligently in your garden to keep those damaging pests at bay.  Lady beetles eat a variety of pests including most soft-bodied insects, mites, and scales. And if you are lucky enough to have a lady beetle lay her eggs in your garden patch, her larvae will eat these pests as well.

Biological Importance of the Lady Beetle

Attracting lady beetles to your garden is not simply for the enjoyment of watching the little things flit about from flower to flower.  They are actually a significant natural defense against aphids and similar pests.   But you’re thinking, they are so small and cute how can they make a difference?

What if I told you that just one aphid produces more than 80 offspring a week? Within a week, those offspring begin to reproduce.  The original aphid continues to reproduce throughout its 20-40 day life cycle as well as each of her offspring.  Within weeks, that one aphid is now an infestation.

Now what if I told you that one adult lady beetle can consume up to 60 aphids per day?  And one lady beetle larva can eat up to 25?  It then becomes clear that the lady beetle can be an important biological control in your garden and is worth the effort of creating a habitat to which they will be drawn.

 


When to Prune a Dogwood Tree

 

 

Lady beetles are not just gluttons when it comes to aphids.  They feed on a variety of pesky insects such as mites and scales.  They also feed on pollen and nectar, which in turn helps to pollinate plants.

 

 

 


How to Attract Lady Beetles to Your Garden

Tip One: Plant pollen-producing plants. Because adult lady beetles feed on nectar and pollen, planting pollen-producing plants in close proximity to plant crops will attract lady beetles to help keep the pest population under control.  One study demonstrated just how effective this practice is by measuring the role of dandelion densities on the impact of pea aphids in alfalfa fields and found that fields with the dandelions have much lower aphid densities than those without due to lady beetle predation. [J.P. Harmon, Oecologia December 2000, Volume 125, Issue 4, pp 543-548]

Tip Two: Plant a Variety of Plants, Shrubs, and Trees.  Interspersing your crop plants with pollen-producing plants is a direct approach to bringing the lady beetles directly to the source of your pest problems, but a landscape that is lush with flowers, trees, and shrubs will help to attract them and keep them coming back.

Plant Guide: Lady Beetle Favorites

 

Flowers

 

Alyssum

Aster

Chrysanthemums

Dandelion

Dahlias

Daisies

Golden Rod

Lambs Ear

Mallow

Pot Marigold

Red Clover

Sedum

Showy Autumn Crocus

Sunflower

Zinnia

 

 

Herbs

 

Caraway

Chives

Cilantro

Dill

Fennel

Lavender

Oregano

Parsley

Salvia

Thyme

 

Shrubs

 

Azalea

Bluebeard Shrub

Butterfly Bush

Forsythia

Fragrant Winterhazel

Hydrangea

Japanese Pieris

Mountain Laurel

Oleander

Rhododendron

Rose of Sharon

Spirea

Trees

 

Black Locust

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

Flowering Cherries

Honey Locust

Pear

Plum

Star Magnolia

Walnut

 

 

 

Tip Three: Plan for Successive Bloom Times. The next order of business is to keep the blooms producing all season long.  This takes a little planning and little trial and error to get the plants in your garden to bloom successively.

Plant Guide: Succession Planting

 

Spring

 

Black Locust

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

Dandelion

Flowering Cherries

Forsythia

Fragrant Winterhazel

Honey Locust

Japanese Pieris

Lambs Ear

Mountain Laurel

Pear

Plum

Rhododendron

Star Magnolia

Walnut

Summer

 

Azalea

Bluebeard Shrub

Cilantro

Dahlias

Daisies

Dill

Fennel

Hydrangea

Parsley

Red Clover

Rose of Sharon

Spirea

Thyme

Zinnia

 

Fall

 

Aster

Chrysanthemums

Goldenrod

Savlia

Showy Autumn Crocus

Sedum

Overlapping Seasons

 

Alyssum

Caraway

Chives

Lavender

Mallow

Oleander

Oregano

Pot Marigold

Sun Flower

 

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