Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ladybugs to the Rescue!

Coccinella septempunctata

For a month or so now, I've noticed a huge amount of aphids covering my 'Powis Castle' Artemisia, see pic below, they covered every stem and if you touched the stem, they all moved in unison...it was really creepy! I had intended on buying some ladybugs to get rid of them...but they didn't seem to be harming the plant at all..it has lost none of its vigor, and honestly, I kinda figured that eventually the local ladybug population would find them and take care of them.

My poor Artemesia provides a home for some aphids

Well, I waited and waited, but no ladybugs showed up and the aphids kept multiplying. Then, today as I was watering, I noticed their numbers seemed to have lessened. Sure enough, there among the herd of aphids was a ladybug larva! Eat up, little bug!

I was reading up about them on Wikipedia and to attract them and provide an environment that encourages them, you can grow plants that provide early sources of pollen (and food for their prey). These can include mustard greens, white or crimson clovers and early legumes. Later on, they like bronze fennel, dill, coriander, caraway, angelica, tansy, yarrow, of the wild carrot family. They are also fond of coreopsis, cosmos (especially the white ones), dandelions and scented geraniums.

Attack Ladybug!


  1. Oh, I didn't know you could grow certain plants to attract ladybugs! So good to know, Thanks for posting this.

  2. Oh I wish I was a ladybug (music playing) I'd be having a picnic......Love the photo. Diabolical!!!

  3. Yikes! The close-up pictures are creepy. I preferred my in-person vision of the red dot chomping up the black dots.

  4. Alison - I know...I was excited to realize I could actually plant things that encourage them to stay in my garden...luckily, I have a few of those things planted already-and now I realize it may not be a coincidence that the Artemisia is close to a large bronze fennel plant :-)

    Compost & Norm - I have to admit, the larvae are a little malevolent looking...not like the cute, roly-poly bugs they'll become later...they do look like a primeval predator in their larval stage!

  5. You got some awesome shots of the ladybug larve! I found some ladybug eggs but have never seen the larve-very cool! Glad they made short work of the aphids.

    P.S. Found my ageratum at a native plant nursery in NC called We-Du Natives. They do mail order too.

  6. Glad to see the Ladybugs are helping you out. :)