A ladybug question is answered!

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QUESTION:
I bought a box of ladybugs a couple weeks ago and released them next to my rose plants to control aphids. The ladybugs passed by aphids without even touching them. I even handpicked a few ladybugs and located them where aphids near by but they didn’t seem bother to check out the aphids…Any idea?

ANSWER:
It must have been very frustrating to watch the ladybugs march right past the aphids. First, the ladybugs must be released at the appropriate time of day, either in the early morning or at dusk. This prevents them from immediately flying off. The aphid infested plants should be watered in advance as the ladybugs are usually more thirsty than hungry when released.

Second, the adult beetles are primarily nectar and pollen feeders but do supplement their diets with some aphids and other small, soft bugs.

 

And last, what the adult ladybugs do upon release within an infested site is this…..they mate! They are quick to determine an adequate food supply for their young. Then, the ladybugs deposit eggs amongst the aphids that will hatch in 2 to 5 days. It is the larvae that prey on the aphids in abundance, sometimes as many as 50 a day! (See pictures of the larvae here)

 

The larvae look like little alligators. They are beige with orange spots when they hatch becoming black with orange spots as they grow. I am sure that your aphids will be taken care of soon!

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