Purchasing Beneficial Insects For My Yard – Ladybugs
Q: I’ve wondered about purchasing beneficial insects for my yard. I’m particularly interested in ladybugs to combat aphids on milkweed that I plant for butterflies.
A: Lady beetles certainly do eat aphids. The problem is keeping enough lady beetles around to eat all of the aphids in short order. In my experience, when you release lady beetles about half of them fly away, never to be seen again, and the others disperse around the garden. They don’t really concentrate on a plant that’s infested with aphids, though they may graze there intermittently. I think you’ll get better immediate control by either blasting aphids off with a water hose or brushing them off with a toothbrush. Milkweed has straight stems and no thorns so I think this would be more effective than introducing lady beetles.