Wikimedia CC If we had to love an insect, the ladybug would have to top the list. There are over 5,000 different species worldwide of this adorable critter, and there are over 450 different species in the United States. Most people do not realize that it is not actually a bug at all, but rather a beetle know as Coccinellae which stands for 'little red sphere'. They are usually thought of as small yellow, orange, or red insects with black spots on their wings.. These beetles can also be grey, brown, black and even pink. They actually come in many different colors, and as they age their spots will fade. Whatever color they may be doesn't really matter because gardeners love them for their insatiable appetite for pest in flower and vegetable gardens. They decrease the population of other insects without disturbing the integrity of the plants.

They do not eradicate all insects, however, they do feast upon aphids. They can consume up to 50 to 60 aphids a day, and up to 5,000 in their lifetime. They will also lay their eggs near these pest in order for the larvae to dine upon them too. Speaking of which they lay up to a 1,000 eggs in their lifetime. They like to feast on aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, scale, thrips, leaf hoppers, whiteflies, and various other soft bodied insects. Farmers and gardeners like to utilize them for pest control rather than chemical pesticides. To protect themselves from other predators, they secrete a yellow, odorous chemical that can be noxious to some predators, but not humans. Their bright colored wings send a message to birds and other wildlife that eating them will leave a bad taste in their pursuers mouth, and therefore, this is usually avoided.

If you want to attract ladybugs to your garden just remember that they need pollen for food, and that they are attracted to certain plants and vegetables. In your flower bed they like marigolds, angelica, fennel, butterfly weed, yarrow, roses, and goldenrod. They favor cucumber, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes. You can spray wheast, whey and yeast, or sugar water around the garden and they will be attracted to the taste. If you are still having a hard time attracting them to the garden, then you should consider purchasing them. You can buy 1500 Live Ladybugs online for less than $15.00. These ladybugs are the species known as Hippodamia Convergens and they will stick to exploring your garden. The Asian ladybugs eat tons of aphids too, but they will want to stop by your house and come in for a visit, and none of us want that type of problem.

Once you have purchased or attracted this little beetles to your garden keeping them from flying away is relatively easy. They live on pollen and they love aphids. Food is vital for there happiness and survival. Shelter is too. They need a hibernation site. This can be done by piling up straw, dead leaves, or mulch around plants, or near a fence. You can also buy a Homestead Ladybug House. They come in lots of bright colors and add a unique feature to your garden. If you are handy with tools, you can make your own. Whatever look you are trying to achieve, shelter must be provided for this guys to hang around until spring.

And finally, if you purchase your ladybugs via a store, you can't just go home and release them. Most of them will just fly away. A good way to prevent this is by waiting until the sun goes down and dew is beginning to form on the plants. If there is no dew present spray your plants with some water. This will give the ladybugs something to drink and a way to stick to the leaves of your plants. You can also drape a light cloth over an infested plant and place some ladybugs underneath it. This will ensure that they find their food source quickly. Place them at the base of plants where you are having the most infestation and they should hang around and make your garden their new oasis. You can refrigerate them right before releasing them. This will deter them from flying right away, and this will give them time to find their prey.

Making this small adjustment to your garden can ensure a growing population of ladybugs for years to come. You can enjoy an organic pesticide free environment for you and your family. By the way, did I mention pesticide free? Don't put these guys near any pesticides or they will die or leave. Enjoy!