Last summer I had a lot of problems with aphids on my plants, which actually made them look very sad. When I wanted to get started with chemicals, my girlfriend came up with the idea to use ladybugs. huh? Ladybugs against aphids? Yes, because my plants bloomed beautifully again because of the ladybugs. Everyone knows ladybugs, but what do we actually know about these critters? Apparently I don’t do much myself, so I decided to delve into these critters a bit more. Will you read along with my findings?
Ladybugs are part of the beetles and come in many varieties, from light orange/yellow to almost black. A ladybug that has just pupated has no dots, as do the larvae. The larvae are more reminiscent of a caterpillar, including small hairs on the body. A ladybug has a lifespan of about a year, so as is often thought, the dots say nothing about the age of the animal.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, I used the larvae to get rid of the aphids on my plates, because this is their food. This makes the beetles extremely useful in horticulture, where they are also frequently used.
The most popular in the Netherlands is the seven-spot ladybug, characterized by its red shield and black dots. However, there are 60 species of ladybugs in the Netherlands. The multicolored Asian ladybug is one such species. This has been transferred to various countries to lend a hand in organic horticulture. This animal has now settled in the Netherlands, Belgium and England.
Not every ladybug eats aphids, because there are also species that feed on fungi or plants. The species that feed exclusively on plants can actually cause damage to your plants. So don’t just buy ladybug larvae, but be well informed and choose the right species. I bought the larvae myself via redwith black dots.nl so be sure to take a look there.
Most ladybugs do not damage materials or foodstuffs, but they can be experienced as extremely annoying in large numbers. This is especially common when there have been a lot of aphids the year before. In the autumn, ladybugs often try to invade a house, to be able to hibernate in a warm place. An easy solution to combat this is to purchase a mosquito net.
Ladybugs are therefore seen as a useful organism, so the use of pesticides (chemical pesticides) is not necessary and certainly not desirable.