HABITAT is the key word! If they and their babies don’t have a place to live all year long, and plenty to eat, they will die or move on. Make good homes for these garden heroes and heroines! Protect their children, educate fellow gardeners, your children and friends!
Ladybird Beetles eat aphids, scales and mites. Both adults and larvae live on plants frequented by aphids, including roses, oleander, milkweed and broccoli. In the winter, the adults hibernate in large groups, often in mountains at high elevations. The female beetle lays eggs only where she knows aphids are present, more than 2000 in her year-long life. The average 7 spot ladybird will eat more than 5000 aphids! Yay!
Per Wikipedia: Coccinellids also require a source of pollen for food and are attracted to specific types of plants. The most popular ones are any type of mustard plant, as well as other early blooming nectar and pollen sources, like buckwheat, coriander, red or crimson clover, and legumes like vetches, and also early aphid sources, such as bronze fennel, dill, [cilantro], coriander, caraway, angelica, tansy, yarrow, of the wild carrot family, Apiaceae. Other plants that also attract ladybugs include coreopsis, cosmos (especially the white ones), dandelions and scented geraniums.
Plant those in a year-round combination, and you will see more eggs, and the larvae! Do not disturb the eggs; they are laid near their food source. The larvae do the most work for us! You’ve seen them….
Syrphid Flies, Flower Flies, Hoverflies larvae prey upon pest insects, including aphids and the leafhoppers which spread some diseases like curly top. They are seen in biocontrol as a natural means of reducing the levels of pests! They mimic wasps and bees.
Larvae are often found in stagnant water. Adults are often found near plants, their principal food source being nectar and pollen, so they pollinate as well as control insect pests. Their favorite gardener type plants are thought to be alyssum, Iberis umbellata, statice, buckwheat, chamomile, parsley, and yarrow.
Alyssum is a terrific plant because it grows readily, flowers quickly and abundantly, lasts for months, including over winter, under-sow it as a living mulch, it self seeds! Besides being food for beneficials, it has other advantages as well. Plant the white alyssum – it attracts predator wasps that feed on the cabbage white butterfly caterpillar, that little green soft naked one that’s so hard to see. You have seen that little white butterfly, black dots on its wings, fluttering about your plants. It lays yellow eggs on the undersides of leaves. Chase it off, uh, smack it down, check your plant leaves & remove those eggs! It’s a quick story – the caterpillars feed 2-3 weeks, there are 3 to 6 generations per season, leaving many ragged holes on your plant leaves! And, alyssum as a trap plant, reduces diamondback moth populations on cabbage and lures lygus bugs from strawberries! Alyssum germination does best at 55-75 degree ground temps. April, May is perfect planting time. Besides, it’s pretty!
Green Lacewings, Stinkflies, Aphid Lions, are a beautiful bright green, delicately winged, eat insect and mite pests. They put out an ugly smell when handled, and have good hearing. When they hear bats they fold their wings and drop to the ground! Their eggs are laid on fine stalks. It is the eggs that are distributed for biocontrol since the larvae are voracious and cannibalistic when in close quarters. The larvae can inject a digestive secretion that dissolves the organs of an aphid in 90 seconds! Excellent.
Chrysopidae are attracted mainly by Asteraceae – e.g. calliopsis (Coreopsis), cosmos (Cosmos), sunflowers (Helianthus) and dandelion (Taraxacum) – and Apiaceae such as dill (Anethum) or angelica (Angelica).
- If you see alligatorish mini creatures, larvae, stalking about your garden, let them! They are the do business phase.
- Admire the adults, protect the eggs!
- Two of our Beneficials like Cosmos, they all like the Apiaceae family. Plant generously.
We are so grateful for our little garden companions! Plant lots of delicacies for our little friends! Plant so they have food and habitat all year!