Today we are going to see how to raise ladybugs at home in an easy and very, very economical way. First, in the video, you can see how I have made my little house or shelter for ladybugs; and then we will see in the rest of the post how to feed them and how to take care of the ladybug eggs to get more specimens.
Breeding ladybugs at home, why?
As we have already mentioned, ladybugs (genus Coccinella) are natural enemies of other insects as they feed on other species that are harmful to our plants, such as the terrible aphids or red spider mites.
This predatory nature of ladybugs makes them a powerful ally for our orchard or vegetable garden as we can use them in our biological control program against pests and diseases, if you do not have a house for insects in the orchard you can always raise ladybugs at home and then release them in it, it is just as effective as long as they find food in your plants.
How to get ladybugs?
Before starting to raise ladybugs at home, you have to get ladybugs… In this aspect do not get too crazy, it is not necessary to buy them from a commercial house or anything like that, you just have to walk through the countryside or a city open field and observe well the plants infected with aphids.
These infected plants will almost certainly be associated with ladybug larvae or adult ladybugs, they are not stupid and will go for the food they like the most, once you have found them you just have to capture them in a pot quietly, both larvae and adults are very docile and peaceful, they will not resist or sting you. If you get about 6 of them, you can start raising ladybugs at home.
Shelter for ladybugs
To raise ladybugs at home you need to give them an appropriate shelter, the construction of a “mariquitarium” or terrarium for ladybugs is very simple and very cheap following these steps:
Get a plastic or cardboard box, with a lid to close it, remember that ladybugs have wings… Make some holes in the lid to facilitate the oxygenation of the “mariquitarium” and place napkins at the bottom to facilitate periodic cleaning.
Place a piece of egg cup inside. The ladybugs like to hide at night to take refuge from predators or to lay their eggs and this structure allows them to do so by getting in through the back.
Have a free space to place the leaves infested with aphids, these little animals need to eat quietly. This will be the food to raise ladybugs at home.
Place some crumpled paper balls. These structures are also useful for them to hide and lay their eggs.
What do ladybugs eat
Breeding ladybugs at home requires feeding your guests… As I mentioned before, the basic diet of these insects is aphids, it is what they like the most and what they thrive on.
To feed your ladybugs aphids you have two options:
Ladybugs eat aphids
Look for aphid infested plants, it is as easy as turning over the leaves and observing black or yellow dots on the underside, these are aphids. Pull off these infested leaves or stems and feed them directly to the aphids. This option has a disadvantage and it is that the aphids feed on the sap of the plant, if the plant stops receiving water (we pull it up) there is no sap, and the aphid ends up dying after 2 or 3 days, that is if your ladybugs have not eaten them before. Basically this option is bread for today and hunger for tomorrow and you will have to go out more regularly to look for aphid infested species.
Find these same aphid infested plants, cut a shoot with several leaves and put it in the “mariquitarium” with a water supply. A small homemade and simple hydroponics. Just take a small container and fill it with water, place a napkin at the end as a stopper to keep it moist and finally prick the sprout in the napkin. In this way the bud will be in contact with the water and the aphids will be able to continue sucking the sap from the leaves, it will last more days than the other way although everything depends on the number of aphids and the quantity of leaves.
Water and honey for ladybugs
But the ladybug does not live by aphids alone and if you are in a hurry or some week you have not been able to find aphids you can always feed your ladybugs with sugar, nectar. To do this simply take the cap of a bottle and put a few pieces of paper soaked in water with honey, with this they will last a few more days until you find fresh aphids.
Care of ladybug eggs
Well we are already starting to raise ladybugs at home, we have the shelter, the diet etc … The normal thing is that they end up by H or B laying eggs behind the egg carton or in one of the paper balls.
The care of these eggs is more delicate than all the above, it is recommended to keep them at a constant temperature of about 26 ° C and that the humidity does not exceed 50% to avoid fungal problems. Once hatched from the egg, be prepared because you will have a real army of hungry aphid larvae, so you will have to intensify the search for food. From larvae they pupate to finally become ladybugs.
As you have seen, raising ladybugs at home is not so difficult and, above all, it is very cheap and educational for the little ones. I have already started with it to have my garden free of aphids and much more animated with these little allies.
There is also another type of larger ladybug house or mariquitarium, which you can build outside, next to the plants in the garden. Lucia showed it to us in the post Raising beneficial insects in the garden: the insects’ home.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.