Have you seen any baby ladybugs in your garden?
They may be on your plants right now, quietly working away for you in a miniature drama as they rid your plants of aphids, spider mites and other small insects. Adult ladybugs also dine on insects, but it’s their young – the larvae – that are the most voracious killers.
Adult ladybugs will seek out plants that are infected with aphids and they’ll lay clusters of tiny yellow eggs on the plant.
Within a few days the tiny ladybug larvae hatch and begin hunting for food.
Ladybug larvae look much like tiny black alligators with orange stripes or spots on their backs. When they first hatch, they are no larger than this comma , but they grow quickly and aggressively search for food.
Recently I noticed a heavy aphid population on the new growth of a Rose of Sharon shrub. I also noticed some ladybugs on the plant, so instead of spraying the plant I decided to watch nature take its course. Soon I observed many ladybug larvae busily scouring the plant and within a week there were no more aphids. These little guys do a great job!
There are other beneficial insects that will help you keep a healthy garden. It’s important to recognize these good insects so they aren’t inadvertently destroyed. Many of them have the appearance of being harmful, but they really aren’t…unless you’re an aphid.
To learn more about beneficial insects and to see photos of the good guys of the insect world, go to this page: http://entweb.clemson.edu/eiis/pdfs/bb1.pdf