Garden Advice: Don’t Buy Ladybugs

Ladybug_XG-CoSpgsCO_LAH_9349Every gardener knows that ladybugs are “good” bugs because they eat “bad” bugs. Educated gardeners know that ladybugs are actually beetles, and that they eat aphids, scale insects, immature beetles and true bugs, and mites. The adults are efficient predators; the larvae are even more voracious. No wonder we want lady beetles in our gardens!

The simplest way to get lots of these colorful beetles is to buy them, and many people do just that. It’s a huge industry. However, buying ladybugs is largely a waste of money, and may even harm the environment! There are better ways to attract not only ladybugs but other beneficial insects as well.

Washington State University Extension’s “Home Garden Series” has just added a new article by Linda Chalker-Scott, Extension Urban Horticulturist and Associate Professor (and determined dispatcher of garden myths), and Mike Bush, Extension Entomologist.

I highly recommend you read this article. Yes, it’s written for Washington, but the information applies everywhere. There are plenty of photos and it is easy to read. Get the surprising but well-researched answers to the question:

Lady Beetles: Should We Buy Them for Our Gardens?

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