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Aphid is a name for a large group of insects, many of which can cause serious damage to plants. They extract sap from plants causing a reduction in plant growth, reduced yields, and sometimes defoliation. Aphids can also secrete toxic substances into the plants. The Aphids take proteins from the sap and then excrete the excess sugar left in the sap back onto plants. This causes a sticky mess on the leaves, which black molds often grow on.
Aphids are soft bodied and often shed white skins onto leaves. Adult Aphids can be green, yellow, pink, black, grey or brown.
Ladybird larvae are potent predators of Aphids (also known as Greenfly & Blackfly). This native Ladybird (Adalia bipunctata) is also known as the Two Spotted Ladybird and can consume up to 100 aphids each day.
The initial advantage of using Ladybird larvae is the sheer number of Aphids that will be consumed. Ladybird larvae, as they develop, will simply consume huge quantities of Aphids. The Ladybird larvae also roughly stay situated in the same area as to where they were released. This makes direct application onto infestations straightforward. Both Ladybird larvae, and Ladybird adults will feed on Aphids, which ensures you will benefit from having the Ladybirds on your plants for multiple stages of their life cycle.
Ladybird larvae will predominantly consume most species of Aphid, but will also feed on other soft-bodied pests such as Spider Mite and Thrip. We would, however, advise use of more specific predators in tackling these pests. See our range of available Spider Mite and Thrip predators by clicking the links here.
Ladybird larvae perform particularly well in greenhouses and polytunnels and will attack local infestations of pests. Our Adalia bipunctataLadybird larvae naturally like to inhabit trees and shrubs and so are also effective predators for use on aphids found on trees and shrubs like roses.
Ladybird larvae can be used in temperatures above 10℃ indoors or outdoors. The optimum temperature for utilising Ladybird larvae has been proven to be above 15℃. Ladybird larvae should only be introduced once pests are present.
We also advise making your garden as attractive as possible to Ladybirds. Try planting a range of pollen bearing plants, and provide overwintering sites for the ladybirds; such as log piles.
For indoor use of Ladybird Larvae: they should be released from March to September.
For outdoor use of Ladybird Larvae: they should be released from May to September.
Each Ladybird larvae order is supplied with a cotton release bag. This bag should be utilised to release the Ladybird larvae in Aphid hotspots and is the ideal applicator when applying the larvae to trees or shrubs.
Simply pour the Ladybird larvae into the cotton bag, hang it on the desired plant, and leave the bag open for the larvae to make their way out naturally. See our attached photo of a hanging cotton bag as a guide.
Alternatively, release the larvae over Aphid hotspots by cutting open the sachet and gently brushing the larvae out directly onto your plants.
If treating multiple areas of Aphid infestation you may wish to purchase additional cotton bags which you can find here.
Full instructions will be provided on delivery.
As a general guide we advise applying Ladybird larvae at a rate of 10-20 per square metre. This would equate to around 5 larvae per medium sized plant. For trees and shrubs 1-3 cotton bags per tree or shrub depending on the size of the tree and level of infestation.
The larvae will feed for around three weeks before developing into adults. There are four larval stages before they pupate into adults. There can be about 3 generations a year and they overwinter as adults.
Ladybird larvae are living creatures and can be affected by any chemical pesticides used within the previous few weeks. As a general guide, refrain from using Natural Pyrethrum or SB Plant Invigorator 2 days prior to use. Other chemical insecticides can have long lasting residues that could harm the Ladybird larvae and other predators for much longer periods. Refrain from using these products or check with Dragonfli for information on the effect of these products on our predators.