In the long list of small auxiliary insects of the garden or vegetable patch, the ladybug is one of the most appreciated by gardeners. As a good predator, it particularly attacks many pests and parasites, starting with aphid colonies. Nevertheless, it would be very reductive to see them only as a tool for biological control of aphids. Ladybugs alone can replace many chemicals. So we always like to cross Coccinella septempunctata and Adalia bipunctata in its green spaces! And if it is possible to buy ladybug larvae or adult ladybugs in garden centers, you can also arrange your garden to attract them naturally all year round. Here’s how to do it!
What are the advantages of having ladybugs in your garden?
We know that these are useful insects, but we often know little about the reasons. Certainly this is a ravenous predator with around 100 aphids on the menu each day for an adult ladybug and up to 150 for a larva. Nevertheless, ladybugs also attack daily other pests : mealybugs, mites, thrips, leafhoppers, psyllids… And let’s not forget the 22-spotted ladybug, which is one of the formidable natural enemies of the parasitic fungus that causes rust on our vegetable plants. So do not hesitate to ask in the garden center which species to choose according to the harmful insects and diseases to be controlled in the plantations.
Moreover, let us not forget that, like bees, bumblebees, butterflies and wasps, ladybugs participate (admittedly more modestly) in the pollination of flowers. Suffice to say that all these specificities make them essential allies in gardening!
How to attract ladybugs to your garden?
1) Ban any insecticide or chemical pesticide in the garden
Ladybugs are particularly sensitive to chemical plant protection products which can quickly lead them straight to the death of adult individuals. This is particularly the case with insecticides which in any case tend to suppress harmful insects and beneficial insects without distinction. In addition to pesticides, fungicides and herbicides of all kinds are also very harmful to them. Before spreading liquid manure, also check that it does not risk pushing them away. And last thing, if you want to help ladybugs thrive in your garden, limit the use of black soap! It’s natural, but they are not fans of it at all …
2) Promote biodiversity in the garden
The more diversity there is in the choice of plants, the more comfortable these little animals will feel. In particular, do not hesitate to leave some corners of nature untouched in our green spaces. The wastelands are in fact areas of the garden where the nettle, borage, yarrow, centaury, wormwood, anthemis and the wild carrot that ladybugs love so much nestle.
They also like plants that attract aphids black and where all you have to do is go pick their prey: broad beans and nasturtium are their favorites. There are also other plants: oleander, roses, nettle, elderberry, groundsel, fennel, cereals … And for the seasons when there are fewer aphids, the gardener can also grow plants rich in protein via pollen and nectar from the garden: knapweed, tansy, white dead nettle, grasses, dandelions, fruit trees, hazel flowers, dogwood, etc. A rich flora in the garden will be a pledge of happy ladybugs!
3) Think about ladybug shelters when setting up the garden
When fall arrives, temperatures drop quickly, foreshadowing a harsh winter. These little insects then look for a shelter where to nest to spend the winter warm. And in this area, there are many possibilities in the garden for ladybugs. So think about leaving them evergreen hedges, ivy leaves, clumps of moss, tree bark or bark as mulch at the foot of plants, bundles of wood and piles of dead leaves, wild herbs. tall or dry stone walls in protected areas of the garden. You can also invert for an insect hotel in a garden center to slide in a corner sheltered from the wind and the rain. With this type of refuge, you will delight more than one!
Good to know : Lovers of ambient humidity, they will also surely appreciate a small pool or a water point. This is another point to remember when planning your outdoor space.