Coleoptera
Lady Bugs
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Like tu buy lady bugs for your garden?

Not exactly the answer you probably want, but unless you have a pretty good aphid infestation, or are going to release larvae, the release of ladybeetles in a garden, especially adults, is probably a waste of money. The adults will simply fly away unless there is sufficient food for them to eat, or initiate egg laying.

I agree with Jerry about store-bought ladybugs, but you can grow your own rather easily. Just plant several plants of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) in your garden. These plants will become covered with small green aphids that are especially sweet (I've eaten them, and they taste like anise-flavored honey). Ladybird beetles consider these gourmet fare, and they very soon will lay their eggs on the plants. By midsummer, you will find all stages of ladybirds developing on the plants--eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.
This will provide you with a constant reservoir of beetles that will eventually spread out over your garden in search of other food. Fennel also attracts aphid-eating birds. Here in southern California, flocks of bushtits visit the fennels several times a day, and these fearless birds put on a spectacular display of daredevil gymnastics which can be observed at close range if you stand very still. They eat thousands of aphids every day. I also find eggs and larvae of lacewings and syrphid flies on the fennel.

John MacGregor mailto:jonivy@earthlink.net

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Last modified on Sunday, 3 January 2016