Today being an awesome day, we spent the whole afternoon Ladybug hunting. It was such a fun activity and the kids enjoyed it. These are some of the tools we used:
– Opened Jar/Trimmed Plastic Bottle
– Hammer and Nails (to pierce the lead for air, if you don’t want them to fly off right away or die)
– Small Branch (to watch them climb)
– Magnifying Glasses
– Lots of Patience
They started the search and once the kids had one on sight, they would carefully catch them, put them in a container, admire them for a little while and then release them back into the wild. They enjoy using their magnifying glasses and often end up finding/collecting a lot more than just ladybugs.
I have always known Ladybugs to be beneficial Garden bugs until a few months ago, when I found a few articles while looking for Vegetable Garden Ideas. I was surprised to learn that some species of these beauties are voracious pests themselves and the easiest way to figure out which is which is by counting the number, shape, and placement of the spots on their wing coverings.
Many species are beneficial to gardeners as they eat plant pests such as aphids, Cochineal, mealybug, mites, ground pearls, pit scales, cottony cushion scales and other scale insects. On the flip side, we have the Epilachninae, a different species of Ladybugs, which are herbivores, known as crop pests and are selective feeders (turnip, broccoli, cabbage, maize, beans, cotton and much more).
Before releasing Ladybugs in your garden to fight the good fight for you, make sure you are releasing the predators and not the herbivores. Click here to learn to identify the different species of Ladybugs.