April 19, 2013 | Organic Gardening
If you are reading this on the West Coast you may already be aware of the fact ladybugs are in high demand as usual, but this year they are also in short supply. If you are reading this on the East Coast it has probably been too cold up until this week to even think about ladybugs. If you normally buy ladybugs in the spring to control aphids you may want to get your hands on them as early as possible this year because you will probably not be able to get any from May through June. There is no clear reasoning for the ladybug shortage, though this does tend to happen every couple of years or so.
Without adding ladybugs to you garden, there are other ways to control the damage caused by aphids. The first would be getting your hands on some lacewings. The brown lacewing is not as well known as the ladybug when it comes to controlling aphids, but they are just as hungry. Or, if you can live without fresh mint mojitos, interplant mint plants in your garden. Mint is one of the aphids favorite treats, and you can use the mint as a trap crop. Just like us, aphids prefer desert to vegetables and will decide to feed on the mint rather than your vegetable plants. Alternatively, if you want to accent your garden with something a little more decorative than mint, you could also try planting nasturtiums.
Chances are you will still see ladybugs in your garden even if you don’t add any to it. This is especially true if you start having an aphid problem as the ladybugs move to the most prevalent food source. Keep your eyes out for all eight ladybug species common to North America and if you see one take a picture andcontact us, we would love to put it up on our blog! Unfortunately the introduced species are more common than the natives now.
As always happy gardening!