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 moulds 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.
These predators are native to the United Kingdom and often referred to as the Two Spotted Ladybird (Adalia bipunctata). The Ladybirds, and their larvae, are highly efficient predators of Aphids and other plant pests, such as; Greenfly, Spider Mite and Thrip.
During the winter months the Ladybirds will hibernate in window frames, walls, log piles or trees, and emerge to mate in the spring. The female Ladybirds will lay between 20-50 eggs per day. These eggs will develop into Ladybird larvae (which also feed on Aphids) and, after three weeks of feeding, will develop into adults. You can purchase our Ladybird larvae separately here.
Ladybirds 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.
Adult Ladybirds are best suited for application onto Aphid infested plants in confined spaces such as greenhouses, conservatories and polytunnels. The adult Ladybirds can be released outdoors but are difficult to apply directly to specific infestations as they are winged and can fly away. Ladybird larvae, which are not winged at this stage of their life cycle, are easier to use for outdoor infestations, as the larvae will stay in one place.
Adult ladybirds can be used in temperatures above 10℃ indoors or outdoors. The optimum temperature for utilising Ladybirds, however, has been proven to be above 15℃. Ladybirds should only be introduced once pests are present.
For indoor use of the adult Ladybirds: they should be released from March to September.
For outdoor use of the adult Ladybirds: they should be released from May to September.
It is recommended that you release the adult Ladybirds in the morning or evening if applying indoors, or when windows and vents are closed for a few hours.
Simply open the container and lodge it in foliage for the ladybirds to emerge naturally. If, after a few hours, some adults are left inside, gently tip them out onto the infested plants.
Full instructions will be provided on delivery.
As a general guide we advise applying the adult Ladybirds at a rate of 10 per square metre. This would equate to around 5 larvae per medium sized plant. If you have a severe infestation of Aphids we would advise doubling this rate.
Adult Ladybirds can live for up to three years in the wild and grow to around 0.4 inches.
Ladybirds are living creatures and can be affected by any chemical pesticides used within the previous few weeks. As a general guide, refrain from using Pyrethrum or SB Plant Invigorator 2 days prior to use. Other chemicals insecticides can have long lasting residues that could harm the Ladybirds 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.