I really wish that I had written this post immediately after we released the lady bugs, so that I would still be optimistic that the lady bugs were going to stay around for a while and eat all the bad bugs from our garden. We did this last Wednesday, so less than a week, and today I was outside over half the day and didn’t see a single lady bug.
Let’s rewind and start from the beginning.
We do raised garden beds and are all about organic gardening! Last year we added a new 4’x8′ strawberry patch to our existing 4’x8′ veggie garden and 1’x1′ blackberry vine area. (Our awesome rogue blackberry vine came to life after dying 3 years ago when we first planted it!)
With our garden space growing, our garden pests seem to be growing too. Ick! And I don’t want to just spray chemicals all over the plants to solve our problems. One of the perks of home-grown foods is keeping the unwanted toxic stuff away. I learned from one of the children’s books that I read my kids that lady bugs eat aphids, so I thought we’d give lady bugs a try.
Now, I’ve already told you that the lady bugs have disappeared without eating all of the bad bugs first, but I’d still order lady bugs again. Here is why:
The release of the lady bugs was so fun for the kids. That alone was well worth the $9 that I spent on the lady bugs being sent to me. (Love her face!)
The lady bugs were happy to be released from the bag and the kids were happy to try to tell them which plants were their new homes. While we stood there, several just flew away. The kids were full of excitement as the lady bugs buzzed around us. Like I said, I would do this again just for the kids. Look at that little hand trying to hold the lady bug. Totally adorable.
Since our release didn’t really “work”, I’ve researched it a bit and have learned there were some things we could’ve done differently. I’m not sure we had enough flowering plants to keep the lady bugs interested in staying around our backyard, so I think we will try again after I plant some flowers in containers (on my to do list anyway).
In the meantime, two nights ago we found two frogs in the driveway and moved them to the backyard. My kids decided he was our pet. We saw the big one in our garden patch tonight. Maybe he’ll eat all the bad bugs.
Wait … do frogs eat lady bugs?
We will keep plugging away at our organic garden. Any organic gardening tips? Please share!
From my home to yours,
My mom grows raspberries and black berries and other bush berries and she says they always appear to die after transplant then come back.
Even if they lady bugs didn’t work at first, what a cool activity!
That is so cool to know that my rogue blackberry bush is quite common. We have gotten such a kick out of the surprise of it coming back to life!
I had forgotten to mention. Basil is a natural aphid detourent (ugh can’t spell this early) we had them terrible on my roses. Last year we planted basil all around them and there were no more aphids. Plus basil is delicious!
And basil smells soo good! Great idea.
I must say about ladybugs, they are truly unpredictable and not in the least obvious about their intentions.for some reason they decided to make my parents property their breeding ground and were truly PESTS. I even heard eeks during phone calls that one had dropped into Mom’s cup of tea. you may be happy they have not taken up residence.(the challenge my parents endured was years and years in the making, trying in vain to determine how and where they were invading their home. they did not want to go toxic)
Ooh … that sounds awful!! Do they live in the country with lots of land? I enjoy lady bugs in the garden, but I don’t want them in my house! Yikes. I’ll take this as a warning to buy our next batches of lady bugs in small doses. 🙂
Diane W says
This is so awesome Mary. I’ve often wanted to get ladybugs but have never done so. Maybe it is something I will do with my granddaughter in the future. I would recommend using essential oils to rid yourself of garden pests. Here is a link that I think you will find helpful… http://simply-living-simply.com/gardening-essential-oils/
Full disclosure I use doTerra essential oils and this site is using doTerra essential oils but that doesn’t mean other good quality essential oils wouldn’t work as well.
That is great, Diane! Thanks so much for sharing. I love learning about lots of different natural solutions. 🙂
From my experience, ladybugs will leave if they have eaten all they can find– so if there are no more aphids, they’ll go find some somewhere else. That said, I have also read that if you spray your plants with water and release the ladybugs in the evening, they tend to stay for a drink and a nap and wake up ready to eat in the morning… and therefore more likely to stick around longer and do more work. 🙂 You might also try praying mantises– you can order the eggs or sometimes buy them at your local nursery and they are VERY fun for the kiddos to watch hatch. You can put the eggs in a little terrarium and then release the babies (so long as you’re not too squeamish- each egg holds maybe a hundred tiny little bugs!) They do a really really great job cleaning up the aphids etc. as well!
I bet my kids would LOVE the praying mantises! And we’d keep the terrarium outside. 🙂 You might just see a post about more pet bugs this year or next. Ha!
Jet Cooper says
Our roses keep tons of ladybugs! Maybe try a rose bush!
Win-win, because I love roses!
Susan Williams says
You can buy kits to hatch ladybugs, and butterflies. Really neat for the kids. My Class raised butterflies every year. Another teacher did ladybugs. I think you can also get frogs.
Those sound awesome! Butterflies sound really fun. Thanks for sharing!