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  • White Flies and Lady Bugs

    Created by Michael Carr on

    Hello, I am considering ordering ladybugs to kill whiteflies that are eating my Ficus plants. I have about 300 linear feet of ficus! The problem I have with buying the lady bugs is that I read their natural predators include dragon flies and anoles (of which I have both in my yard). What should I do? Will the ladybugs just get eaten by the other predators?

  • Author
  • #221179


    This is correct, both dragonflies and anoles are natural predators of ladybugs. As it is not a closed ecosystem, ladybugs may very well evade their predators. As they are sold in such large quantities, the ladybug army should make a dent in the whitefly population before they are able to be predated. Ladybugs reproduce relatively quickly, and it’s possible you may get a second generation of insatiable larvae for your garden. There are a couple steps you can take to help make sure your ladybug are successful.

    1. Apply insecticides before releasing your ladybugs. Applying a short lived organic pesticide can help to knock back the pest population, and give the ladybugs a better chance at controlling or eradicating the whiteflies.
    2. Release your ladybugs in the morning or evening. Midday heat can exhaust your tired ladybugs, allow them to acclimate to the environment before being thrown into the frenzy.
    3. Water plants before releasing. Your ladybugs will be thirsty after their long hibernation. Watering before release allows them to drink up any water droplets that may be left on plant foliage.
    4. Provide food. Ladybugs are voracious predators. If there is no food around it’s likely they’ll fly off and find some. Release on a large infestation to keep the maximum ladybug population in your yard.

    These tips should help your ladybug population thrive! If you’re still worried about predators, consider buying whitefly parasites instead. These tiny wasps specialize in parasitizing whiteflies, and may fare a little better than the ladybugs. Good luck!

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