A favorite "good bug," ladybugs will eat aphids, mealy bugs, scale, leafhoppers and other soft bodied pests. They keep on eating until the bad bugs are gone, laying their own eggs in the process. When new pests arrive, fresh ladybugs will be waiting. These lovable little bugs really do work for you, plus they will be doing something favorable for the environment.
Note: Release at sundown (because they don’t fly at night).
As we know the most commonly recognized beneficial insect is the ladybug or lady beetle, but did you know that there are actually several slightly different types of ladybeetles?
Two very common types are the Convergent ladybeetle with 12 black spots and the Seven-spotted ladybeetle. Both are very similar in appearance with black heads, orange bodies and black spots.
Another common species is the Twelve-spotted ladybeetle. This insect is pinkish-red in color with 12 black spots and more oval or elongated in shape compared to other ladybeetles. As we have stated all these ladybeetles, both adults and larvae, are predators of soft-bodied insects like aphids, mealybugs, scale and also eat egg masses of other types of insects.
Ladybeetle larvae are very different in appearance than the adult beetle, and most people when looking at the larvae have no idea that it is a baby ladybeetle. The larvae look like very small, flat, slim, black alligators with orange spots and are about 1/2" long. Aphids are a preferred food source for ladybeetle larvae, and they are voracious predators eating even more harmful insects that the adult beetles do.
Gardeners sometimes think these purple, dragon-like critters with spines/warts and big legs are pests, but if they’re in your garden, they’re helping you out.
People may think these are causing damage to the plant when in reality they are destroying the aphid population. The worst thing you could do is go out and spray the larvae.