Several of my squash plants have been covered in aphids. I never worry too much about pests in my garden but when the aphids spread over to my young apple tree I decided it was time to do something. I haven’t seen many ladybugs in my garden recently so I decided to buy some lady bugs at the nursery. They come in packs of about 1500.
Often times you release ladybugs and they just all fly away failing to stay in your garden and eat your juicy aphids. There are a few tricks to get them to stay. First of all make sure you have a food supply for lots of ladybugs such as lots of aphids on your squash plants. Adult ladybugs do not eat as much as their larvae but you need to encourage the adults to stick around and decide to mate in your garden in order to really get the benefits of adding ladybugs. Secondly, keep your ladybugs in the refrigerator until you are ready to put them out. The cool temperatures keep them dormant but they quickly become active once you take them out. Release the ladybugs in the evening and spray your garden with some water so they have something to drink right away. All of these tips should help you keep your ladybugs from flying away as soon as you release them.
Also don’t forget to create habitats that encourages ladybugs to stay. One year I found tons of ladybugs hanging out in my ornamental grasses in the front yard but they also like marigolds, yarrow, butterfly weed and lots of herbs. Plant a mixture of plants for shelter and plants for pollen. One more tip is to know what the eggs and larvae look like. Eggs are clusters of golden yellow eggs usually laid underneath leaves. Larvae doesn’t really look like adult ladybugs so make sure you know what they look like because they are your friends!