Ladybugs, Hypodamia convergens
Ladybugs Hypodamia convergens: Both larvae and adults of ladybugs are also called as ladybird beetles. The ladybugs are active predators of many soft bodied insects including aphids, mealy bugs, mites and scale insects. Adult ladybugs are hemispherical shaped and bright orange to red in color with a few to 13 black spots on both the front wings. Larvae have appearance like an alligator with reddish dark brown color and a few yellow stripes on the body. Ladybugs overwinter as adults.
- + Effective against the following pests
- Aphids, (Order: Hemiptera) Myzus spp.
- Mealybugs (Order: Hemiptera)
- Mites (Order: Trombidiformes)
- Scale insects (Order: Hemiptera)
- Thrips (Order: Thysanoptera)
- + Key factors for Ladybugs effectiveness
- Ladybugs are voracious feeders of soft bodied insects such as aphids, mealy bugs, mites and scale insects. Since adults of ladybugs are very active, they can move very fast after their release and find their prey in the garden. Each adult of ladybug is capable of eating over 5000 aphids whereas each larva can eat over 400 aphids in their life-spans. Use of ladybugs as biological control agents in the organic gardens is a good choice because they can continuously reproduce and maintain their populations as long as they find their food in the garden. For example, once ladybugs are released in the garden, they immediately start feeding on their prey. While feeding they mate and lay up to 1,500 tiny yellow eggs on foliage. Eggs hatch within a week into blackish brown alligator like looking larvae, which are very mobile. After hatching, these larvae immediately start feeding on the available insect hosts in the garden. While feeding, larvae molts 3 times before pupation. The pupae are orange to black in color and attached to any substrate in the garden. Young adults emerge from pupae within 1-2 weeks and life cycle continues. Ladybugs generally complete several generations in a year and they hibernate as adults during winter.
- + Availability of ladybugs and their application in the organic garden
- Ladybug adults are sold in a bag and about 1500 adults are enough to treat about 900 square foot area of garden. These bags of ladybugs will be available to purchase from March through July from our website. After purchasing, if it is possible, release adults immediately at dusk in watered garden near plants infested with aphids or other host insect pests. If it is not possible to release ladybugs immediately after arrival, they can be stored in the refrigerator at 38o F until you are ready to release them in the garden. However, for their highest survival rate in the refrigerator, it is recommended that the bags containing lady bird beetles should be pre-conditioned upon arrival by rinsing bags under cold water and then transferring them into the refrigerator at 38o F.
- + Why you need them?
- Because we can use them to control soft bodied insect pests that cause tremendous damage to our organic vegetables. Also, these biological control agents have a wide host range and can be easily introduced in the garden.
- + Why they are safer than traditional pesticides
- they are not harmful to children, pets and the environment.
- they do not harm plants and like pesticides, there is no question of leaving any toxic chemical residue on the produce that is ready to eat.
- do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production or application.
- Therefore, any produce including all vegetables are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with ladybugs.
- + Research Papers