How to attract ladybirds in the garden? 3 useful tips!

In the long list of small insect helpers in the garden or vegetable garden, the ladybird is a favourite among gardeners. As an effective predator, it takes care of numerous harmful insects and pests, starting with aphid colonies. However, it would be reductive to consider them only as a biological control tool against aphids.

Ladybirds can in fact replace numerous chemical products on their own. Therefore, it is always a pleasure to meet Coccinella septempunctata and Adalia bipunctata in one’s green spaces! And if you can buy ladybird larvae or adult ladybirds in garden centres, you can also design your garden to attract them naturally all year round. Here’s how!

What are the advantages of having ladybirds in your garden?

It is known that they are useful insects, but often few reasons are known. Certainly they are voracious predators, with around 100 aphids per day on the menu of an adult ladybird and up to 150 for a larva. However, ladybirds also deal with other pests on a daily basis: mealybugs, mites, thrips, leafhoppers, psyllids… And let’s not forget the 22-spotted ladybird, which is among the formidable natural enemies of the parasitic fungus responsible for rust on our horticultural plants. So, do not hesitate to ask in the nursery which species to choose according to the harmful insects and diseases to fight in your crops.

Also, do not forget that, like bees, bumblebees, butterflies and wasps, ladybirds participate (albeit in a more modest way) in the pollination of flowers. It can be said that all these characteristics make them indispensable allies in gardening!

How to attract ladybirds to your garden?

1) Eliminate all insecticides or chemical pesticides in the garden

Ladybirds are particularly sensitive to chemical plant protection products that can quickly lead to the death of adult individuals. This applies in particular to insecticides, which have a tendency to eliminate harmful and beneficial insects without distinction. In addition to insecticides, fungicides and herbicides of all kinds are also very harmful to them. Before distributing an infusion, also make sure that it cannot drive them away. And lastly, if you want to help ladybirds proliferate in your garden, limit the use of black soap! It is natural, but they are not at all fond of it.

2) Promote biodiversity in the garden

The more diversity there is in the choice of plants, the more comfortable these little insects will feel. Do not hesitate to leave a few corners of nature untouched in your green spaces. Fallow land is in fact an area of the garden where nettle, borage, yarrow, centaury, wormwood, chamomile and wild carrot, which ladybirds love so much, nestle happily.

They also appreciate plants that attract black aphids and where they can hunt for their prey: broad beans and nasturtiums are their favourites. There are also other plants: laurel, roses, nettle, elderberry, senecio, fennel, cereals… And for the seasons when there are fewer aphids, the gardener can also cultivate plants rich in protein through pollen and nectar in the garden: centaury, tanacetum, white milkweed, grasses, dandelion, fruit trees, hazel blossom, dogwood, etc. A rich flora in the garden will guarantee happy ladybirds!

3) Think about ladybird shelters when setting up the garden

When autumn arrives, temperatures drop rapidly, heralding a harsh winter. At this time, these little insects look for a shelter where they can nest and spend the winter in warmth. And in this respect, the possibilities in the garden are manifold for ladybirds. So, think about leaving them evergreen hedges, ivy leaves, piles of moss, tree bark or bark as mulch at the base of plants, woodpiles and piles of dry leaves, tall wild grasses or dry stone walls in protected areas of the garden. You can also opt for an insect hotel in a nursery to be placed in a corner sheltered from wind and rain. With this type of shelter, you will make more than one happy!

To know: Lovers of ambient humidity will certainly also appreciate a small basin or water point. This is another aspect to keep in mind when designing your outdoor space.

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