WHY DO MY LADYBUGS FLY AWAY?
How to Make Sure Your Ladybugs Stay in Your Yard
“I put ladybugs out and they all flew away!” We hear this often from our customers. Why do they sometimes just take off without so much as a “how-do-you-do?” Keep them close to home with these simple guidelines:
Never release ladybugs during daylight hours. The most common reason why ladybugs disappear is because they are released at the wrong time of day. Ladybugs can’t fly at night, and they can’t take off in the morning until their bodies rise above a certain temperature, so the best time to release them is at sunset. This forces them to spend the night in your garden. In the morning, they will be hungry and need to eat before they can disperse.
Water lightly before you release them. When you release your ladybugs they’ll not only be hungry, but thirsty as well. Before you release them, lightly water your garden so that they’ll have water to drink.
Provide aphids! Make it easy to find a meal by placing them on the ground directly under infested plants.
Offer nectar and pollen. Adult ladybugs are actually omnivores, which means they eat both animal and plant materials, including flowering plants such as dill, wild carrot and yarrow, and legumes like peas, beans, and clover. Offer an assortment of these foods.
Use pesticides with care. Always give beneficial critters a chance to work. If you must spray, try a repellent (like Garlic Spray). Or choose an organic systemic insecticide, such as bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
Look for eggs, larvae, and pupae. Just because you don’t see ’em doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy. As they eat their way through your garden, ladybugs deposit their eggs on your infested plants. Look for clusters of tiny yellow oval-shapes on the undersides of leaves. These hatch into larvae, which are even more voracious aphid eaters than adults.
Try a ladybug lure. LAdybug lures produce the mouth-watering aroma of aphids to draw ladybugs and other beneficial insects into your yard. Place it on a strong stem, branch, fence post, garden hook or similar anchoring spot.
Be realistic. It’s natural for ladybugs to spread out in search of food. The only time they congregate in large numbers is in the fall as they prepare for winter hibernation. Remember that ladybugs avoid predators by hiding, so they should not be easy to find. Finally, be patient. It can take 2 – 3 weeks for beneficials to bring an insect infestation under control.
Store them properly. Keep them refrigerated until they’re released. The cold will keep them in a state of hibernation. In this state, they can live off their body fat for as long as three months.
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