Ladybugs are very beneficial insects for the garden. They are also great for aphid control and the elimination of several more pests.
Live ladybugs are sold in many hardware stores, such as Walmart, Lowes, and Ace Hardware. It might not always be easy to find them in physical stores though since they can be difficult to keep for longer periods.
Because of this, buying ladybugs online might be a good alternate solution. There are plenty of online stores that sell ladybugs so you will never run out of options.
If buying ladybugs online is something that you are considering, then this article is perfect for you.
- Related Article: How Many Ladybugs Are in the World
How to Attract Ladybugs Naturally
Before buying ladybugs online, try these natural methods of attracting them first:
1. Keep a Variety of Plants
If you want to attract ladybugs naturally, try keeping a variety of plants in your area.
You may also consider planting heavy pollen-producing plants like Geranium and other composite flowers as ladybugs also consume these. Their diet also includes nectar from flowers.
2. Don’t Clean Up in Fall
Ladybugs love to hide in leaf litter and it’s the perfect place for them to hide out during winter. This also applies to early in the spring.
3. Keep a Cabbage in Check
Cabbages are an effective aphid-attracting decoy plant that is very attractive to ladybugs. Cabbage aphids provide a steady supply of food to them.
Reliable Online Shops to Buy Ladybugs From
The following websites are some of the best places to purchase live ladybugs:
1. Lost Ladybug
The extinction of certain ladybugs species has now become a concern for many. Take, for example, the nine-spotted ladybug, Coccinella Novemnotata, which used to be very common in North America.
A certain project called The Lost Ladybug Project wanted to raise awareness on this topic and that is what started their movement.
The Lost Ladybug Project stands out amongst the others because it sells ladybugs that are raised in a lab, instead of being harvested from the wild.
Although expensive, their process ensures that ladybugs bought from them are free from ladybug parasites and have adapted to local conditions.
Right now, the Lost Ladybug Project is only shipping to the Northeastern States, as the source of the colony is a farm on Long Island. They plan to be able to ship all over the country in the future.
2. Green Thumb
Green Thumb sells a breed of convergent ladybird, Hippodamia Convergens. This species of ladybug is the most popular one, at least for home use.
These ladybugs are sold as adults in containers, pouches, mesh bags, or cloth bags.
Green Thumb collects ladybugs from nature since they state that raising them in laboratories would not be cost-effective. Ladybugs are refrigerated until sold so that they are maintained in a state of hibernation.
3. Planet Natural
Planet Natural sells live ladybugs all over the United States. Their bugs are gathered from the wild and later on, debris is removed.
Planet Natural ships adult individuals, which come in cotton bags mixed with wood shavings. They guarantee the live and timely delivery of these beneficial insects to help you manage aphid populations in your home.
Planet Natural always guarantees an easy and quick delivery.
4. Nature’s Good Guys
On Amazon, it’s possible to purchase 1,500 ladybugs from Nature’s Good Guys. This product has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, with 8,661 global ratings.
The bugs, with Hippodamia Convergens as the specie, are sold in a mesh bag or natural, unbleached, reusable cotton bags. They are guaranteed to arrive alive.
Nature’s Good Guys also provides an educational sheet with useful information on how to release and store insects properly.
It’s also possible to purchase ladybugs on eBay. The brand carried is the same as the one we previously mentioned on Amazon, and the best seller is named ‘bugsrmoney’.
They state that they have been selling ladybugs since 1986, and hold a very good rating of 98.6% positive feedback with 4,916 reviews.
Their bugs come in mesh bags of 1,500 insects. This seller guarantees live delivery as well.
How to Release Ladybugs
Releasing ladybugs is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. We have sorted out 4 tips for you to try below:
1. Choose the Right Time of Release
It is said that the best time to release ladybugs is late in the evening or very early in the morning. This is because the temperatures during this period are not extremes. These conditions allow ladybugs to be more active as well.
2. Give Them Time for a Sip
Ladybugs will be thirsty when they arrive since they have been stored for a while. You can either wait for rainfall or water the garden for about 20 minutes just before releasing them.
3. Choose the Right Season of Release
As a natural cycle, most insects hibernate during colder months so it might not be so wise to release them during that season.
It is best to free ladybugs in the spring or early summer as their supply of food and other resources do not become available before that.
4. Make Use of Flower Beds
To maximize the chances of them staying in your garden, it’s a good idea to place them directly in flower beds or on as many different types of flowers as possible.
Instead of dumping them all in the same spot, it’s nice to spread them around.
This is because they are territorial insects that do not usually congregate in big groups. Some sellers recommend releasing a few of them twice a week.
How to Store Ladybugs
It might not be a good idea to release your purchased ladybugs all in one day. The good news is that ladybugs have easy storage.
You will only need your refrigerator and container and you’re good to go. You can simply place them inside the container with a wet cotton ball so they can stay hydrated while being kept there. This method is effective for up to 3 weeks from purchase.
Once they are taken out, give them time to adjust to the room temperature before you take them out for release.
Why Do People Say Not to Buy Ladybugs?
The reason why many people think ladybugs shouldn’t be bought is that most times these insects are collected from the wild and not lab-produced.
Growing ladybugs in a lab are very expensive while trapping them is far easier. The latter might not be the best option to consider though. Listed below are the reasons why:
1. You Might Attract Unwanted Problems
A ladybug captured in the wild is prone to carrying diseases, parasites, and other insects that are not native to your area. Research states that about 3-15% of ladybird beetles had Dinocampus Coccinellae, an internal parasite.
There is no easy way to tell when a newly purchased ladybug is sick so native ladybugs in your area, which may not have the right defenses against certain diseases, can get affected easily.
Some varieties of purchased ladybugs such as Convergent Ladybugs, are more aggressive and can cause harm to native species.
2. Ladybugs Are Highly Migratory
Ladybugs are used to returning to their place of origin. When they run out of food sources, they can just fly out to look for green pastures.
To avoid this, consider purchasing from insectaries that feed the adult beetles a special diet to minimize their migratory behavior.
3. It Can Get Confused Over Other Ladybug Species
Additionally, the removal of numerous individuals at a time can weaken a population, allowing more invasive predatory insects to take over.
Do note that because of the massive count of beetle species, it might get confusing to differentiate them from their more destructive counterparts such as the Asian Lady Beetle, the Mexican Bean Beetle, and the Squash Lady Beetle.
Should I Buy Ladybugs Online?
If this is something that you are deciding on, the best advice that we could give is for you to buy them from reliable sources that grow them in a lab such as the Lost Ladybug Project. Ladybugs grown in the lab are much safer in general.
Final Thoughts on Buying Ladybugs Online
Keep in mind how the natural ecosystem works. There should always be a balance in the number of diverse insects in your garden as introducing too many at one time can also have negative effects.
Not unless the aphid infestation in your area is that severe, using an insecticidal soap or blasting them with water to eliminate further pest populations might be a good thing to consider.
As much as possible the use of commercial chemical products is something that we would like to do away from.
You can also consider buying other kinds of insects that also serve the same function as the ladybug. An example is the Green Lacewings, which are very effective aphid predators as well.
Ladybugs are considered one of the safest and most effective means of biological pest control out there.
To learn more about ladybugs, check out these other great articles: