By Caitlin Watzke
Not only are ladybugs the cutest insects in the animal kingdom, they are one of the most effective ways to naturally rid your garden of pests.
Ladybugs are beneficial insects, which means they eat bad bugs that feed on garden plants. They have an especially voracious appetite for aphids, which are tiny, soft-bodied insects that multiply quickly and feed on sap. They also eat mites, lice, insect eggs and other soft-bodied insects. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, a single ladybug may eat as many as 50 aphids a day or 5,000 aphids in its lifetime.
How to attract ladybugs to your garden (and keep them there):
Plant ladybug food.
Ladybugs love floral plants that provide nectar, so try planting flowers like geraniums and herbs like cilantro, dill, fennel and caraway.
Order them in bulk online.
When they arrive, store them in your refrigerator to calm them down. Release them during the early evening hours, when they are less likely to fly away. They will be thirsty, so make sure they have enough water. Set up shallow dishes with pebbles and fill them with water. The ladybugs will perch on the pebbles to drink the water.
Say no to pesticides.
Resist the temptation to spray if you see pests. If there are no pests for the ladybugs to feed on, the ladybugs will fly away.