Are Lacewings and Ladybugs Beneficial for Your Garden?

lacewings and ladybugs

Most gardeners know about the insects that cause damage and consume the plants or flowers in their respective gardens.

Instead of using chemical deterrents or insecticides that may do more harm than good, Mother Nature provides a natural solution in the form of beneficial bugs that eat the pests.

Ladybugs and lacewings are two of the most commonly sought-after beneficial bugs that can protect your garden from unwanted insects.

They are predators that will protect your plants while consuming the bugs that eat them.

But what are ladybugs and lacewings and how do you attract them to your garden for good reasons?

Let’s try to get the answers to these questions and more in the article below…

What are Ladybugs?

The ladybug is arguably the best-known of the beneficial insects thanks to its reputation for killing unwanted pests and its beautiful appearance.

Appearance

Ladybugs are most noted for their bright red coloring complete with black dots on their wings.

They also have a rounded, turtle-like shape that makes them quite distinguishable from other insects.

While they do fly, they are more often seen on the ground and especially on flowers that produce a pollen that the enjoy consuming.

Food They Eat

Ladybugs primarily consume pollen and destructive insects such as aphids, scale, and mites that otherwise would cause considerable damage to your garden.

And while you may see a ladybug on a flower, it only consumes the pollen it produces which means it leaves the flowers themselves untouched.

Some of the flowers that can attract ladybugs include the following.

  • Angelica, Calendula, and Caraway
  • Chives, Cilantro, and Cosmos
  • Dill, Fennel, and Feverfew
  • Marigold, Statice, Sweet Alyssum, and Yarrow

However, ladybugs are also attracted to a garden by the plants that their prey consume.

Which means that if your garden has early cabbage, marigold, nasturtium, or radishes, then ladybugs will show up in waiting for their prey.

What are Green Lacewings?

While ladybugs are more popular, the green lacewings may be more effective in getting rid of a wide variety of unwanted insects.

Despite their dedication to clearing away pests, they have mostly gone unnoticed by many gardeners probably because their appearance is not nearly as beautiful or distinctive as the ladybug.

Appearance

The green lacewing is as the name describes green in coloring.

They look like an elongated fly with large, delicate wings.

The eyes of a lacewing are copper in color and they have long antennae which helps them seek out prey.

The larvae of the lacewings tend to be flat in appearance with an alligator-like look.

Food They Eat

The green lacewings are hungry predators and will go after a wide variety of insects which includes the following.

  • Aphids, Caterpillars, and Leafhoppers
  • Mealybugs, Mites, and Psyllids
  • Thrips and Whiteflies

In addition, the lacewing will also consume nectar, pollen, and honeydew along with the eggs of other insects.

The green lacewing is a hungry critter, consuming upwards of 200 insects each week.

How to Attract Lacewings and Ladybugs to Your Garden?

By eating unwanted pests that attack your plants, both the ladybug and lacewing are invaluable in protecting your garden or flowerbed.

This will allow your plants to grow stronger and healthier thanks to the presence of these beneficial bugs.

What follows is how to attract or keep ladybugs and lacewings in your garden or flowerbed.

1- Decoy Plants:

It probably sounds counterintuitive to bring in plants that attract the unwanted insects.

However, that is one of the best ways to ensure you have plenty of ladybugs and lacewings around.

Set up the decoy plants on the exterior of your garden. If you can, put some distance between them and your other plants.

You can also put one or two of these plants inside the garden to provide the ladybugs and lacewings a home, so they can then patrol the garden area.

2- Buy Ladybugs:

So popular are ladybugs that you can often find them for sale at retail stores that carry a wide variety of plants.

The trick is to know when to release the ladybugs, so they do not fly off and find a home somewhere else.

  • Make sure your garden has the food, water, and shelter they need
  • Put the ladybugs in the refrigerator for six to eight hours
  • Then, release them at dusk. Being cold will slow them down, so they will look close for a home
  • If you have aphid-infested plants, that’s a good place to put ladybugs
  • Make sure the leaves have water droplets on them for the ladybugs to consume

3- Stop Pesticides:

Unlike ladybugs lacewings may not be available at your local retail store that specializes in plants.

So, you may have to try to attract them in the wild.

The first step is to stop using pesticides as that will kill them.

Instead, use products such as Bacillus thuringiensis that will kill maggots and caterpillars, but leave lacewings untouched.

4- Provide Good Shelter:

Leafy plants are often used by lacewings to shelter their eggs.

The eggs will appear long and stringy when under a leaf, so do not touch them.

It will not take long for a lacewing to mature once it is hatched, so be prepared to see plenty of them for a short while.

Because they fly around frequently, the green lacewing can be mistaken for a bug hungry for the plants.

Make sure you do not try to swat or shoo them away.

Instead understand what they look like and leave them alone.

They will take care of themselves without harming the plants.

The Conclusion

Remember that ladybugs and lacewings will not kill all the pests affecting your garden.

If they do, then they will go somewhere else to find food.

So, you will have to live with a little damage to your plants.

If they do manage to destroy all the pests and leave, you will need to buy more ladybugs when you start seeing new damage to your plants.

Remember to not use insecticides as that will kill the ladybugs and lacewings, too.

Instead, you can use the plants to help bring in these predator bugs to help rid your garden of the unwanted pests.

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