This week we’re looking at ladybirds, a useful garden critter. How do they benefit your lawn? How can you can encourage them to call your garden home?
Ladybirds may be considered by many to be nothing more than pretty insects, but they are efficient predators that keep problematic pests under control. They feed on a variety of things. Aphids are their most well known food (one ladybird can tuck away up to 50 aphids a day!) but they also eat mildew and other fungi. It’s their eating habits that benefit your lawn, and many other plants in your garden, so encouraging ladybirds in a good idea.
Ladybirds are a type of beetle with around 5,000 different species worldwide. 46 species of ladybird live in the UK, but only 26 of those resemble our classic idea of a ladybird. They live for up to two years, hibernating through winter and becoming more active as the weather warms up in March and April. When they aren’t feeding, ladybirds rest under tree bark and logs, or in bushes and cracks in trees or wood. They also like dense vegetation and ground cover for protection, but they have two other clever defense mechanisms – they taste horrible to most animals, and they’re pretty convincing at playing dead.
Ladybirds call your home, home
It’s not uncommon to find colonies of ladybirds in your home this time of year. The warmth and shelter of your home is understandably appealing, but it can be problematic. The warmer environment means they wake up earlier than they should. Their main food source, aphids, aren’t around that time of year so ladybirds who wake from their winter slumber early will just starve. It’s possible, although slightly time consuming, to relocate a colony of ladybirds outside. But you can create a great habitat for them. Read on for more info.
What can you do for ladybirds?
You can encourage ladybirds into your garden by installing an insect hotel. You’ll find great insect boxes in most garden centres, but it’s cheap and quite simple to make your own to suite the space you have. You can set aside part of your garden and fill it with logs, pieces of bark and some plants grow tall to provide cover. And you can find instructions for making a small, quick and clever insect habitat here.
We don’t provide ladybirds but we do provide fantastic turf that they can help you look after. If you’re a landscaper or gardener looking for quality trade supplies, our turf will right up your lawn.