Useful facts about ladybirds and lacewings

Ladybird having dinner

ladybird larvae and their adults, make massive inroads on aphid infestation.
ladybird larvae and their adults, make massive inroads on aphid infestation.

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

If you find a ladybird inside your house in winter, it will not survive because it is too warm and dry. You can help it by putting it outside, in a sheltered place, such as a shed, unheated garage, a log pile or in a ladybird hotel. Dont put it on tw
If you find a ladybird inside your house in winter, it will not survive because it is too warm and dry. You can help it by putting it outside, in a sheltered place, such as a shed, unheated garage, a log pile or in a ladybird hotel. Dont put it on tw

Fennel, insects love it

A lot of beneficial insects love Fennel, so I grow some among my cabbages.
A lot of beneficial insects love Fennel, so I grow some among my cabbages.

Ladybirds in decline

The seven spot and the two spot, which until recently were common, are under threat along with the rarer five spot.
The seven spot and the two spot, which until recently were common, are under threat along with the rarer five spot.

Ladybirds

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.

Food

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.

Shelter

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.

Water

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 lacewings

Lacewing Larvae can consume over 250 aphids
Lacewing Larvae can consume over 250 aphids

Lacewings

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.

 

 

 

 

lavae

Although ugly one of these do a lot of damage to aphids
Although ugly one of these do a lot of damage to aphids

Living in the garden

Ladybirds are most commonly found in Small shrubs, trees, and grass.
Ladybirds are most commonly found in Small shrubs, trees, and grass.

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Comments 23 comments

beetle_nick 4 years ago

do a lot of ladybirds count as a plague


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks lovelypaper, you are so right, ladybugs are beneficial and beautiful. Thanks for the comment


lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

Ladybugs are the only insects I will let crawl on me. I think they are cute and so beneficial to your yard.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Gosh yes I remember that. I went out in a yellow cardigan and for some reason they swarmed all over it and left everyone with me alone. Quite frightening. Thanks for the comment Ethel


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I love to find a few ladybirds in my garden. Do you remember the late Summer of 1976, I think it was. Where I live in the UK we had a plague of ladybirds. We moved into a new home and it was full of ladybirds.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

There is a problem with nature's balance in some parts of the world. Here in the UK, there is a growing problem with the harlequin ladybird from Asia. Thanks for the comment I'm glad you enjoyed the hub


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 6 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

We need a lot more of both ladybirds and lacewings on this island that is overrun with insect pests. There is loads of Fennel here but it doesn¡'t help the situation. There are supposed to be several species of ladybird here but I have only seen a few in five years. Hoverfly larvae eat a lot of aphids but again we need a lot more.

Great hub!


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks Hypnodude, I agree ladybirds and lacewings are very beautiful and remarkable


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Those insects are two of the greatest friend of gardeners. Beautiful hub and pictures.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks guys for the comments it means a lot to me


poetlorraine 6 years ago

lovely hub , i am so fond of ladybirds, they feature heavily on the hand made cards i make. I never knew they were so useful.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Thanks for sharing this info on these lovely bugs. I love the idea of natural ways of keeping a balance in gardens.

Love and peace

Tony


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks Paul, I think chemicals worries a lot of people. Happy New Year


Paul Scanlon profile image

Paul Scanlon 6 years ago from Birmingham, UK

Wow, what a great hub jayjay. I must admit I'm not the keenest of gardeners, but I do like the idea of using nature to control pests rather than chemicals. And, dare I say, it will keep the birds happy too.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks scarytaff, happy new year


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

Good hub jayjay. It's a concern to all of us gardeners. Well worth the read.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks guys for dropping by and reading this hub. The declining numbers of these insects are worrying, so thanks for caring


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

I do love ladybugs - nice Hub.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

How delightfuly interesting, for I love ladybugs, which you call dear ladybirds. I saw my first two-spotted one this summer. Regretfully the orange ladybugs have out-beget the red ones which are supposedly native, and decreasing. Not many lacewings around either, but they are also lovely little creatures. Thank you for sharing!


2uesday profile image

2uesday 6 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

Great hub Jayjay, the photo of the larvae is very useful. Though I like ladybirds and lacewings I had never seen a larvae until last summer when we had an influx of them. I had to look in a book to see what they were and was glad to see they were 'goodies'. They are not the prettiest of infants but I can forgive their looks because of how useful they are. Well done Jayjay for another interesting and useful hub.


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Jayjay how right you are about lady birds and lace wings being great at aphid control. Larvae of many hover flies should also be encouraged. Great hub.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Yep they certainly begat a lot!!! Unfortunately, the native ladybird is being hit here by a double wammy-no natural habitate and the harlequin ladybird.


Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

Some years ago ladybugs were brought here to help conrtol some of our troublesome little monsters. They begat and now they are everywhere.

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