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What Are the Benefits of Ladybugs?

By Lee Morgan
Ladybugs are a gardener's friend and should be welcomed.

Ladybugs, also known as ladybirds or coccinellids, are small beetles approximately 1/4-inch in length with dark orange hard shells covered in black dots. These beetles can show up in large numbers in some areas and will occasionally attempt to move indoors to cause a nuisance in the home, but overall these are bugs you want to have around because of their benefits.

Reduce Insect Population

Ladybugs are predatory beetles that eat a large number of aphids (plant lice) and other harmful bugs. Even in the larval stage, ladybugs will normally consume hundreds of aphids and will grow into adults that may eat up to 5,000 aphids in a lifetime. This greatly reduces the population of harmful insects that will otherwise destroy your plants.

Eliminate Harmful Pesticides

Because ladybugs eat many of the insects that cause damage to garden plants, a good population of the beetles will prevent the need for harmful pesticides. Getting ladybugs to populate your garden may be the tricky part. Products like Wheast (a mixture of wheat and yeast) can be sprayed safely on plants and will attract ladybugs. In addition, planting flowers like angelica and dill and allowing the growth of dandelions in the garden will also promote ladybug populations.

Beautify The Garden

One of the most endearing qualities of a ladybug is its appearance. The deep orange to red shell with black dots, tiny black heads and wiry antennae make this beetle look like a piece of art. Ladybugs are among the best-dressed bugs in the garden. While having slugs drag slime across the garden floor may be a bit disgusting, having ladybugs crawl across the leaves of your roses or lilies just adds to the visual appeal.

 

About the Author

 

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.