Useful facts about ladybirds and lacewings
Ladybird having dinner
A natural and balanced environment
Encouraging insects into the garden can seem contrary to everything we have done as gardeners. However ladybirds and lacewings can eat more than their weight of aphids every day. Lacewing larvae and ladybird larvae and their adults, make massive inroads on aphid infestation. We are all worried about using pesticides, yet we don’t want our hard work and money go to waste, then encouraging and keeping ladybirds and lacewings is a very worthwhile thing to do. So how do we do this? Well all living creatures need 3 basic requirements, food, shelter and water. If we can supply these for ladybirds and lacewings, then we will have a garden that provides its own pest control and is kinder to the environment. Results are not instant; the benefits to your garden are cumulative. As your plantings mature and resident populations of beneficial insects are established, the need for chemical pesticides and other aggressive insect control techniques will diminish. Your garden will become a more natural and balanced environment for the healthy production of vegetables and flowers.
Ladybird,ladybird fly away home
Fennel, insects love it
Ladybirds in decline
In days gone past the ladybird was thriving in the hedgerows and hedges of the world. Then farmers were encouraged to destroy hedgerow so they could cultivate larger fields more efficiently. So it left many species, including ladybirds, looking for new habitats. This is where our gardens come in.
Of course this is our main purpose to have ladybirds in the garden. Is so they can eat all those horrid, white and green fly, so plants that attract them will provide food for the ladybirds. It’s worthwhile in a garden to plant vegetables and flowers nearby. Of course native wildflowers are always the best to plant. I’ve always found that a lot of beneficial insects love Fennel, so I grow some among my cabbages.
If you have room then some native bushes and brambles will offer shelter for ladybirds. Among their favorites are creeping thistle and broad leaved docks. If you don’t have room then some hollow stems, or bamboo tied together will provide good shelter. Even in winter ladybirds can be found hibernating among dead plant stems. There are of course ladybird houses on sale in most garden centers. Whichever you choose, site it a sheltered spot from the wind and about a foot or more from the ground.
A shallow dish, with a handful of gravel in it, should collect enough water, so insects can land on the gravel without becoming wet, is ideal.
Lovely ladybirds and lacewing links
- BBC - Somerset - Entertainment and Leisure - Spot the difference: harlequin ladybirds invade Somerse
Originally from Asia, the harlequin ladybird has been recorded in Somerset and is posing a huge threat to our native ladybird species.
- UK Ladybird Survey - Homepage
Lacewing Larvae can consume over 250 aphids – so attracting Lacewings into your garden will provide you with a natural way of keeping aphids under control without the use of harmful chemicals. Their needs are similar to the ladybird where shelter is concerned. Lacewings lay their eggs in shady, protected areas, so providing such places near crop plants is a good idea. The essential part of retaining lacewings is to have flowering plants available so they can feed on the nectar and pollen. Among their favorite plants are wild lettuce, evening primrose, dill, caraway, angelica, sunflowers, cosmos, sweet alyssum and the humble dandelion. You need aphids too, and most gardens have plenty. Lacewings are no different from other insects, birds or even animals. If proper food sources are not available, they may inhabit your garden for a while, but when the current food source is gone, they are gone as well. Spray sugar water on non-crop plants to attract and feed adult lacewings.
Living in the garden
Natural pest control
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