Maintaining and beautifying your garden takes time and effort. This is why every gardener does not disdain to receive a little help. Among the garden auxiliaries, ladybirds figure prominently. Active in spring as soon as temperatures exceed 15 °, their larvae devour aphids. However, if they can become your allies, they must find their value in return. Also, here are some tips to attract them to your garden.
Eliminate or limit the use of insecticides
The use of pesticides is tricky. If we cannot deny their effectiveness, the problem is that they act on a large scale that is difficult to define. If you use it to control the development of weeds, you also limit the pollination actions of insects. If you use them to control rodents that you think are harmful, you are also likely to kill other animals that are useful and appreciated, such as hedgehogs, frogs and birds. And if you use it to suppress pest insects like aphids, you also suppress those insects that you love to observe, including ladybugs, but also dragonflies and butterflies.
Today, we are therefore aware that pesticides affect an entire ecosystem. This is why it is important to prioritize as much as possible natural solutions, which prove to be effective alternatives that will not kill ladybugs.
Regular weeding with a regular hoe is essential. Other tools have been specially designed to facilitate this work: you will find some that allow you to effectively remove dandelions and their deep roots without having to bend down. You can also resort to tricks such as the use of the cooking water of the potatoes which, poured on a path of stones, proves surprisingly effective.
Beyond dealing with a problem, there is always the possibility of limiting the extent of the problem. Thus, by properly maintaining your terrace and walls, by regularly redoing the joints and plaster, you will partly limit your work. the mulching is also a good reflex. Whether you use straw, bark or even dead leaves, these natural “mats” will become refuges in which ladybugs will settle down to spend the winter.
On the other hand, if you use plant manure, it will be necessary to limit its use. Fern liquid manure is, for example, renowned for being a good fertilizer but also a natural insecticide and insect repellent, with very good effectiveness against aphids. But this is the paradox of wanting to attract ladybugs: if they don’t have food, they won’t come into your garden. Who says he wants to attract ladybugs, also says he wants to attract aphids …
Create a garden favorable to the life of ladybugs
To promote the presence of aphids, nothing like roses and oleanders. Nasturtium and broad beans are also plants that attract aphids, and therefore ladybugs. The latter like to reproduce and lay eggs in nettles. You can also plant a flowering meadow consisting of achillea, anthemis, centaury, borage, wild carrots and wormwood.
It is more and more known that the garden composed of a vegetable garden with very straight and neat rows, green spaces as impeccably maintained as a golf course, and with little diversified plant species, has fizzled out. Flowers are now mixed with vegetables. The shrubs are scattered all over the place. To attract ladybugs to your garden, nothing beats a space where flora is rich. They like snowballs, syringes and berberis. Do not hesitate to leave areas fallow either. If you don’t like them, place them in areas away from your daily field of vision. The most seasoned gardeners will be able to practice crop rotation.
Offer them shelter to spend the winter serenely
So far we’ve talked about the importance of providing cover for ladybugs. But we must not forget the lodging! It is particularly useful for ladybugs to spend the winter, the season during which they overwinter, that is to say they live in slow motion. They will thus be present in your garden as soon as they wake up and will not waste time to reveal their usefulness.
They naturally appreciate cracks in walls, bark and tree holes, piles of dry leaves, gaps between stones. If you have a DIY soul, you can also build a insect hotel. Pine cones and wood wool in small pieces are then preferred materials. Then think about installing it 30 cm from the ground, sheltered from the wind and the rain, in a sunny place. And if you have the possibility, multiply these shelters at different points in the garden.