Placing ladybugs in the garden is an amazing way to deal with numerous pest problems, but they are especially effective on eating aphids. If you have a vegetable garden, rose bushes, or fruit trees you are likely well aware of this garden nucance. Luckily, the best solution is to purchase beautiful ladybugs and place them in your garden.

I recently purchased a beautiful Espalier Fuji Apple Tree which was sadly covered in aphids. With a few simple tricks, I was able to use ladybugs to rid myself of my aphid problem and my tree has been aphid free since. Here is everything you need to know about using ladybugs in the garden to treat common pests, how to release ladybugs, and how to keep your ladybugs from flying away.

ladybugs eating aphids

What bugs do ladybugs eat in the garden?

Ladybugs eat numerous pests besides just aphids. They also eat scales, mealy bugs, leafhoppers, mites, and white flys. They also eat the larva and eggs which prevents these pests from continuing to harm your precious plants. They are also able to crawl into small spaces that sprays may not reach.

For example in my roses, the aphids like to hide in between the petals. Sprays will ruin the blooms, but my ladybugs will leave my roses aphid free in a day! In the photo above you can see the ladybugs eating the aphids on my rose bush.

ladybugs in a flower

Where to Buy Ladybugs?

If you wondering where to buy ladybugs, the good news is they are very easy to purchase. I have bought all my ladybugs from Armstrong Garden Center. They keep them regularly stocked all spring and summer. You can also find ladybugs online on amazon.

insect house for ladybugs

How to Release & Keep Ladybugs From Flying Away

The number one question I see asked in my gardening groups is how do I keep ladybugs from flying away or how do I keep the ladybugs in my garden once I release them. When you release your ladybugs you have to do it a certain way if you want them to stick around, so here is how you do it. After releasing our lady bugs, we’ve had them stay around for weeks for flying off after they finished eating every aphid on our plants.

ladybugs in an insect house
ladybugs drinking water from a wet cotton ball in an insect house
  1. After you purchase your ladybugs, bring them home and put them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to release them. This will keep them alive longer and put them in a type of hibernation sleep.
  2. Make sure you only release them in the evening at dusk.
  3. Next, before releasing your ladybugs make sure you spray the plant with water. They are going to be very thirsty and they will fly away if you do not provide a water source. We spray water on the trunk and branches right where they are going to be released.
  4. When you release them, don’t release them all at once. Release a few over the course of 3 days.
  5. Also, when you release them, place them where they should be. I always put a few on my hand and put them right on the leaves that are infected. They will start eating those aphids right away.
  6. When you come out the next morning, leave a small lid with some gravel and water and respray the areas where your ladybugs are.
  7. Consider purchasing a ladybug house. On your house, place a cotton ball soaked in water and one or two dried raisins. This will provide food, shelter, and water to your ladybugs even when they’ve eaten all the plant pests.
ladybug larvae eating a pupa

Be Careful Not to Kill Ladybug Larvae!

A ladybug larvae can look quite intimidating. You would almost think it is a poisonous caterpillar so make sure you know what they look like. If you find these in your garden, you’ve hit the jackpot and should consider yourself lucky. Here is a super cool time-lapse video of the growth stages of a ladybug!

Have you used ladybugs to help take care of your garden? I hope you find this article helpful and continue to have your ladybugs for several weeks or even all summer long. Ladybugs are such wonderful and amazing bugs. I highly recommend releasing them every few weeks throughout the spring and summer months. They are usually about $10 at Armstrong Gardens, and worth every penny to keep my fruit trees, roses, and vegetables pest-free.

Enjoy this delicious Aloha Bowl Recipe using fresh Strawberries and Blueberries I usually pick straight from my garden. For more gardening tips, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

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