If you think all ladybugs are great, it means you never meet with Asian ladybeetle or 28-spotted ladybug. As you understand, I came across these insects. They are not so cute and can make problems not only for your garden but for your health too.
Most ladybugs devour all the insects that invade your plants, seeking shelter outdoors when the weather is cold. Other ones can not only damage the crop of root crops, vegetables, and berries but also spreads when flying from field to field viral diseases of plants.
So, let’s consider in detail.
Benefits from the ladybugs
The boundless gluttony of this carnivorous beetle brings tremendous benefits to household farms, agricultural crops because it eats an aphid, cochineal, whiteflies, spider mites, small caterpillars, and larvae of Colorado potato beetles. Being in the stage of a larva, ladybug absorbs prey to 50 aphids a day. Adult insect eats up to 100. They help plants, cleaning crops from pests. They even breed at specialized enterprises, and then with the help of aviation spread over the fields.
Thereby, the benefit brought from the ladybug is visible to the naked eye, you need only to look carefully, for example, to cucumber beds. The aphids eat the leaves of cucumber. If left it without any action, four days later, the leaves of the cucumber will dry completely and the plant will perish. But use the work of red hunters, and cucumber plantations will be cleared of the pest for the day. The presence of these carnivorous insects on plants solves problems with the destruction of aphid colonies on berry bushes, fruit trees, tomatoes, and peppers. The opportunity to do without chemical treatments will allow without fear to eat mature fruit and vegetables.
Some gardeners begin immediately to resort to the destruction of aphids by poison chemicals in the early spring, seeing small colonies of aphids on some plants. You do not have to completely destroy the aphids on plants because the adult ladybugs without food will die. It is not necessary to clean perfectly the garden and the plots from the fading plant residues with the onset of autumn since in the absence of dry fallen leaves or empty birdhouses, ladybugs will nowhere safely to overwinter.
Although the benefit from the activity of ladybugs significantly exceeds the damage done by them the damage is still there. Not everything, what the bug eats, goes in favor of the plant world. Since the ladybug is a petty and carnivorous insect, in addition to the aphids, it can eat other insects, which are useful for the garden and the plots.
There are several types of ladybugs, which cause significant damage to our plants.
Asian lady beetles
It has a body length of up to 7 mm. The species there are two subspecies. One of them has a yellow body with black spots. The second subspecies has a black body with red-orange spots. This beetle is more aggressive and breeds faster than others, and therefore represents a great threat to them.
The farmers of North America, Western Europe, and England are in the panic from Asian lady beetles. When they were brought to North America, these beetles should help to establish a biocontrol over the spread of aphids. But this type of bugs destroys not only the aphids but also representatives of its species. And now Asian lady beetles become the most popular species of ladybugs in the United States and the United Kingdom. The biologists of these countries say that 46 other types of ladybugs disappeared.
It happens that an Asian lady beetle bites people, causing unpleasant burning in the place of a bite, and sometimes an allergy.
This bug reaches 5 mm in length, has a strongly convex body of reddish-brown color with a characteristic whitish bloom. As you understand, it has 28 black spots. 28-spotted ladybug is a true horror for planting potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelons. You can meet the bug at a meal on corn, sunflower, pumpkin, soy and even on some tree plants. This insect not only damages the crop of root crops, vegetables, and berries but also distributes viral diseases of plants from field to field.
Melon Lady Beetle
This insect is a yellow-red pest, 9 mm in length. The larvae make holes in vegetables, in zucchini, cucumbers, watermelons, and pumpkins. It leads to the death of plants. It is necessary to dig the plots in the autumn, removing plant remains to destroy the melon lady beetle. Cucumbers need to be provided with moisture and minerals. You can also fight with the beetle in a chemical way.
However, only herbivorous species of ladybugs can cause damage to agricultural crops. And most of them live in tropical areas.
How to attract ladybugs to your garden?
Attracting bugs to your plot or garden is not very easy but possible. To do this, you need to plant plants that attract this insect to your territory. Gardeners have long noticed that these bugs like a smell of daisies, dill, tansy, and yarrow. Experienced horticulturists leave comfortable places for wintering. If these shelters are prepared smarty and they are comfortable for insects, then ladybugs willingly stay in them for hibernation.
There is a well-known method of creating shelters. After harvesting corn, the dry clean bundles are connected and hung up in the garden or in the beds, where food grows for ladybugs. In September insects are in search of a warm, dry and cozy shelter for wintering and settle in their new homes.
These insects will remain for the summer right in your garden and your plots. It should be remembered that even a dozen ladybugs will inflict enormous damage on the aphid army. Even if the owner of the territory did not care to collect hunters on aphids for winter, they will find shelter themselves in the yard: in the firewood, under the bark of old stumps, under a bunch of leaves or shavings. All the representatives of the insects of the world hide and winter with a dense friendly company. For our climate, it is important that these shelters are not too high from the surface of the soil, saving the beetles from freezing.
In European countries special garden ‘small houses’ are sold in garden stores. These small houses look like mailboxes or mini-birdhouses. Houses for useful bugs are made from natural materials (tree, bamboo, plant remains, and vine). In the summer, in such a house insect do not fly because they do not need shelter in the warm period. But people leave a bait containing pheromones in these boxes to lure them to the mini-house and invite to stay at the winter. This mini-house is very nice and decorates the garden and, at the same time, it is arranged in such a way that insects will not fall because of snow in winter and they will be able to survive the cold without losses.
So, the benefits of ladybugs are beyond doubt. They, eating various insect pests, provide a great service to agricultural lands. And although there are not good species, it should not affect the reputation of a whole ‘family’ of these beautiful and useful insects.