Besides being pretty-looking members of the beetle family, ladybugs are also great experts in pest control. During their pest control endeavors, they do not damage the plants in your garden in the process.
Do ladybugs eat spider mites? Yes, they do! They prey primarily on aphids and other tiny pests that might intrude inside your home, garage, or garden.
What Are Spider Mites?
Spider mites are tiny creatures that are arachnids hence their name. However, they have more of an insect framework than a spider one. They are very tiny to the human eye and can be found on various fruit trees and other plants in your garden. Because they are so difficult to detect, you would have to check your plants for any damage to determine if you have a spider mite infestation.
There are about 1,200 species of spider mites that are members of the Tetranychidae genus and the Acari subclass. An early sign of a spider mite infestation is seeing light white dots on plants which are called stippling. The infestation has gotten out of control if you see spider web-like substances on your plants with tiny little brown dots on them, which are the spider mites inhabiting the plant.
Why Ladybugs Eat Spider Mites
Now you know the answer to “do ladybugs eat spider mites?”, but why do they do it? Ladybugs eat spider mites because they like their smell and taste. They can smell the spider mites as they travel through their environment. Hence, if you have spider mites in your garden, that alone can lure ladybugs over to help control the infestation.
Alternatively, you can plant specific plants to expedite ladybugs visiting your garden for infestation control. Plants such as dandelion, clover, yarrow, alfalfa, and wild-grown carrots attract ladybugs because they like these plants. There will be a higher likelihood of ladybug attraction to your garden for infestation control if you have either of these plants.
What Other Insects Do Ladybugs Eat?
Ladybugs consume many other small bugs such as mealy bugs, whiteflies, asparagus beetles, alfalfa weevils, aphids, Colorado potato bugs, and others. Aphids are the most popular meal choice amongst ladybugs. Ladybugs stemming from the Hippodamia convergens and the Harmonia axyridis genera are most attracted to aphids.
When ladybugs are first born, they can eat up to almost 400 aphids or other acceptable insects in their diet within just the first 14 days of their birth. They are pupas for a couple of weeks before transitioning into full-grown ladybugs. They have about a one-year lifespan and can eat up to about 5,000 aphids during that time, which is great for gardeners that need pest control.
Where Can I Find Ladybugs to Tame Pest Infestations?
If you have an infestation problem where small pests are invading your plants, you can collect ladybugs from the wild to bring to your garden. Check alongside local rivers, grasslands, and other areas where their favorite plants are located in your community, if any.
If it’s too difficult to find them in the wild, you can find them at your local gardening supply store. For example, Ace Hardware deals 1,500 live ladybugs for $7.99 which can help take care of your infestation problem while also populating your community with beautiful pest controllers.
A word of caution: be careful where you purchase live ladybugs. If they were not bred appropriately or caught correctly, it could lead to diseasing other local ladybugs and affecting your crops.
Do ladybugs eat spider mites? Ladybugs eat ants, spider mites, other aphids, mealy bugs, whiteflies, fruit flies, and many other small pests. If you have any pest infestations in your home garden or greenhouse, enlist the help of ladybugs to have your plants return to their former glory.