lacewing.jpgQ: I see ladybugs and lacewings for sale at my garden center. Is this a good way to control unwanted bugs in my garden?

A: Some beneficial insects can be purchased and turned loose in your garden. The problem with this is that the insects you purchase are not aware that you have given them a special invitation to your particular “garden restaurant” and they may very well fly away. (more…)

Q: Why do I have so many ladybugs in my garden this year?

ladybeetlecsu.jpgA: You’ve noticed more ladybugs too, eh? Lady bugs (also known as lady beetles) seem to be appearing in larger numbers than usual for this time of year. They are excellent additions to your garden because they are voracious hunters of some of the less welcome insects in your garden, especially aphids. The wonderful spring rains we enjoyed have given us lusher plants, and…sigh…more aphids. Aphids feed by sucking the moisture from your plants, so more water means more aphids. Aphids can reproduce very, very quickly (some are even technically born pregnant!). So the ladybugs are enjoying this bumper crop of their favorite food.

If you don’t thing the ladybugs are working quickly enough and you’re worried about aphid damage, you can also deal with aphids with a good strong stream of water. Once they are washed off, they cannot fly back up into the plant. In fact, the pressure of the water usually crushes them. Keep an eye on the plants you’ve washed and spray with the water again as needed. Insecticidal soap is another option for getting rid of the aphids. (more…)