Marienkäfer - lady bug, originally uploaded by Veri's kleiner Winkel.
Ladybugs, also go by the name of lady beetles or ladybirds and are not just lovely with their red black dotted, red coats but can be a gardener's best friend. They love to feed on insect pests, especially aphids!
What a great idea, I thought! So one year I went to my local nursery bought god knows how many lady bugs in a cup and with glee set them out in my yard expecting great wonders. Any pro gardener watching me would have wondered what I was doing. No sooner had I opened the lid, my new friends spread their wings and flew to the neighbors yard!!! That's why one should read instructions!
here are a few tips to help ensure that they stay where you want them:
1. Only release ladybugs after sun down or before sun-up. Ladybugs navigate by the sun and in the evenings & early mornings, they tend to stay put.
2. Pre-water the area where you are releasing them. Not only will the ladybugs appreciate the drink, free-moisture on the leaves helps the ladybugs to "stick" to plants.
3. In the warm months, it helps to chill the ladybugs in the fridge before releasing them. Ladybugs tend to crawl more than fly in colder temperatures and the overnight stay in the fridge won't harm them in anyway.
4. On severely infested plants like roses, drape a floating row cover or thin sheet over the plant and release the ladybugs underneath. Within a day, the ladybugs will have found the aphids and will be happily munching away at them.
(Source of Instructions:Pioneer Thinking
This year I will dutifully follow each and every instruction in hopes of keeping these lovely little critters around for a long time.