Are your plants under attack by harmful insects that you struggle to keep at bay?
Are you ready to have more control over your gardening environment? Discover if you can help and protect your plants by eliminating harmful bugs naturally.
Don’t be surprised if you discover that ladybugs and lacewings may surprise you with the help they can give your garden. I will share with you several instances of how ladybugs and lacewings eat harmful insects.
Lacewings in particular help your garden in many ways. They feed on yellow flies, aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs.
Lacewings lay their eggs on insects that harm your plants, and the lacewings eventually kill the insects Eggs can be laid on the leaves of any plant, and hatch within a week.
As larvae, lacewings and ladybugs consume other bugs and lay eggs on the pests.
What are Ladybugs?
Ladybugs are beetles, not bugs, and true to their name, they are quite small with shiny red, orange, or metallic green colored shells.
There are 453 different species of ladybugs in North America, but most are nonaggressive garden pests. The ladybug of choice for controlling garden pests is the painted lady, which has dark metallic blue, green, or green-black wings.
The ladybug’s diet consists of nectar, pollen, and small insects. Ladybugs have three pairs of legs that help them move and long antennae for sniffing out harmful enemies.
There are over 5,000 species in over 450 genera, of which only six species are common pests.
Some are notorious pests like the Japanese beetle, while others like the lady beetle are beneficial. The ladybug is yellow, black, or red, with variably shaped spots.
The spots can be round, oval, or look like triangles or diamonds. Like all insects, ladybugs consist of a body, a head, two antennae, six legs, and a segmented body.
This insect’s body is flattened with rounded shapes, and its wings are oval shaped without being showy. Ladybugs have beautiful colors, such as red, yellow, orange, and brown.
Adults have wings that spread when they are flying. The wings are folded when they are at rest.
Ladybugs live anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. They feed on aphids and other plant sap -sucking pests, making them irresistible to gardeners.
These little winged insects range in size from 1-5 millimeters.
Depending on the species, ladybugs can vary from white to red. Adult ladybugs develop from egg to adult within two weeks.
These insects produce offspring by laying eggs on the underside of leaves. The young ladybugs develop and feed on plants by hiding in the underside of the leaves.
They protect the plants by consuming harmful insects. They are also food for birds and reptiles, such as lizards.
Because of its reputation for destroying harmful pests and lovely look, it is one of the best-known helpful insects.
Ladybugs are often used as beneficial insects, however, because ladybugs prey on harmful insects eating their eggs, larvae, and pupae.
The ladybug’s name is taken from the Latin coccia, which is a synonym for cabbage, the favorite plant of the ladybug.
Because the ladybug is such a beautiful and recognizable insect, it is often used as an educational tool to teach students about ladybugs and other helpful insects.
Are Ladybugs Dangerous?
Ladybugs are not deadly, although they may bite or pinch certain people, leading to a small bump on the skin and some redness.
The ladybug’s body contains protein, and people with protein allergies may have an adverse skin response if they come into contact with a large number of ladybugs.
Because protein is naturally found in the ladybug’s body, people with allergies may find it dangerous to consume them.
If you have a lot around your house, you need to take precautions to avoid getting hurt.
If your pets consume ladybugs, it could cause serious health problems.
What are Green Lacewings?
While ladybugs are more well-known, green lacewings do actually have many beneficial contributions to make in the garden.
For example, lacewings will eat beetles, aphids, caterpillars, and other pests. They also kill other insects that damage plants.
Lacewings can devour a large percentage of these pests, thereby greatly reducing their impact on the garden.
In addition to consuming pests, lacewing larvae also feed on decaying plant matter, so they are able to convert harmful plant waste into a nutrient rich fertilizer for their plants.
Despite their effort to eradicating pests, they have mostly been responsible for repelling pests from their gardens rather than killing or removing them completely.
Green lacewings are insects that live in damp areas, such as decaying leaves, compost piles, and piles of other organic materials.
They typically lay their eggs in decaying vegetation, but they can also lay their eggs in cracks or holes in wood surfaces.
The type of insect that the eggs hatch from depends on the location of the egg.
When the larvae hatch, they seek a moist place inside the home and make themselves at home.
Are Green Lacewings Dangerous?
Although they are not damaging to plants when present in small amounts, they can cause significant damage if they cover an entire plant.
Humans and pets are not the only ones who should be wary of green lacewings, since these insects also feed on certain crops. As a result, they may cause a reduction in yield as well as permanent damage to your garden.
When working in your garden, though, they may be beneficial because they can eat up pesky aphids and slugs.
The bite may feel like a prick , but it’s often harmless.
Also Read: Do Ladybugs Bite?
Are all ladybugs beneficial?
Although ladybugs are among the most efficient predators, their ravenous consumption of pests can be an environmental burden.
When ladybugs feed on a plant, their strong mandibles tear into the leaf, harming the plant’s growth as well as its ability to be sustainable and reproduce.
In fact, a handful of them have certain parasites that depend upon them to complete their life cycle.
These parasites if found on plants can cause severe damage. Zebra lady beetle (ZLB) is also very aggressive, thus, wrong handling of the insects could cause harmful effects.
These insects may also bite, but the effects would be far less severe than that of the LMB or the MALB. The Southeast Asian lady beetle (SALB) is another aggressive lady beetle, so watch out.
The multicolored Asian lady beetle is notorious for its extremely toxic saliva. Ingesting lady beetles can quickly lead to death.
Although ladybugs and lacewings are great for your garden, they certainly aren’t the only solution for all types of insects.
With lacewings, you won’t have to be over protective of them because they aren’t attracted to your property. On the other hand, ladybugs are not just attracted to your garden, but to your plants.
If you plan to use ladybugs , then planting some marigolds, zinnias, or petunias is a great way to attract them. When you find a ladybug, gently release it if you can without any problems.