farming / breeding ladybugs

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by Diggman, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Hi there,

    Today I came across an ornamental plant that was almost infested with ladybugs (I saw quite a few aphids under the flower buds) and collected some of them for my garden, problem is I don't believe there's anything worthy of them hanging around for at the moment, so decided to try farming them until my veggies all get planted out, any tips? I did see some stuff online already but would like some direct tips if anybody has any?

    cheers
     
  2. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Ok so some info, at first it seemed that their only food is leaves / stems or flowers that have a large group of aphids on it which you snip off and place in your bug home.
    I came across a site last night that saysbyou can leave two raisins in water for a while until they absorb the water, cut into halvesnor thirds and place near the base of any plants in their home, replace when they are "gone".
    For water you dunk a small cotton ball inn water and leave somewhere acessable.

    They are a bugger to catch though! Sunce they have the habit of clmbing to the top, I was using a empty waterbottle and spent more time flicking them back down into the bottle than actually catching many! I think I got about 25 though :)
     
  3. Stephy

    Stephy Junior Member

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    Lady bugs are so adorable :D I would like to see some pics of lady bugs from where you are from. ?

    (I am from SE QLD, and in my back yard I get what I think is 4 different varieties including the plant eating lady bug)
     
  4. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Nice! I decided to take some pictures today (I'm in London) and it looks like 3 varieties - unfortunately my temporary terrarium for them is a Chinese meal takeaway plastic container which is murky / misty plastic, my camera couldn't focus properly :(. I saw a small aquarium in the rubbish storeroom in my building that's been there months, looked last nite and its gone!
    I counted 30 Bugs and ...... about 120 Eggs !!
    the Aphids have all been munched :( - I was making popcorn then came for the show ... nothing left
    They seem to like the raisins and are mating quite a bit :) ... not that I watch, honest!

    Found out that it helps to grow a patch or patches of dandelions as this is a beneficial plant for them, the piece of weed I picked that was full of aphids looks like a dandelion but more of a red-ish variety.
    NOTE: I noticed how even though the aphids are gone, the ladybugs really keep searching the piece of weed like there's some smell that they are attracted to ?

    Next I intend to obtain non treated timber (just one or two pieces totaling 1.5 meters or so to build a couple bug hotels
    View attachment 2504
     

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  5. Stephy

    Stephy Junior Member

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    Bug hotel :D Sounds like a good idea, that I may steal !!!

    I noticed lots of lady bugs on my dieing squash plants so I decided not to pull them up and just cardboard, soil and mulch over the top of their roots / stem and let the leaves pop out to prolong their feast on aphids.

    Just need a predatory insect for white flys. >.
     
  6. Diggman

    Diggman Junior Member

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    Sad news! Aphids got all munched and it seems the Ladybugs aren't that interested in the moist grape so they started munching on the eggs, took two days for all 120+ eggs to disappear :(
    I know that you can place the bugs in a good container in your fridge to help them go into a temporary dormancy which should help in their eating habits.

    Here is a 7 min youtube video with the guy from '' Growing Your Greens '' releasing his ladybugs and giving tips on keeping them happy so they stay as long as possible:

    https://youtu.be/2j0Lcn6fPDk
     
  7. Antje

    Antje Junior Member

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    I wish I could transmat you some of my hibiscus and morning glory plants. They are regularly run over with aphids, and I haven't found any treatment method that really works, yet. (tried: regular sprayings with water, because aphids like it dry and hot; spraying with water that had stinging nettles lying in it for a couple of days; spraying with water and then dusting with wood ash and leaving that on for a couple of days, making it caustic - No dice!)

    If you want to attract aphids to feed your ladybugs, I suggest nasturtium (Indian cress). It grows well in pots on hot balconies - at least until the aphids find it. The beasts wiped out my entire balcony last year - only the plants on the shady therefore cooler patio a couple of meters below the balcony didn't get infested and eaten. Nasturtium is also pretty (lots and lots of yellow, red or intensely orange flowers), blooms for a long time (basically until the first frost kills the plant, if you keep removing the unripe seeds), the bees seem to like it, and you can eat the flowers (taste like mild horseradish) and leaves/seeds (taste like capers).
     
  8. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    I wonder if your lady bugs are the same as ours? We call ours lady beetles, some are plant munchers and others eat other insects. I remember the long handle of one, a plant muncher ; Henisepilachna vigintioctopuctata or 28 spotted lady beetle originating in Russia, but now found in many parts of Asia as well as on my potatoes. The other lady beetles with a lesser number of spots are the aphid munchers here in Australia. Bugs have sucking mouthparts and beetles have chewing mouthparts. Ours are beetles. White oil, a petroleum derivative can be sprayed to drive off the aphids if they are causing economic damage to your crop and you cannot get them under control naturally. Aphid fras or faeces is called honeydew here and is sweet and encourages ants and the growth of moulds and other fungal disease in the plants, also aphids spread disease from one plant to another. The main insect pest here is the Monolepta or golden shouldered beetle in the spring and summer because it has so many alternative hosts in our native plants away from our food plants and it just loves avocados and lychees and Eucalypts.
    I wonder if a chilli spray would do the trick instead. In Papua New Guinea on a Coastal plantation in New Britain where I lived for a bit the locals used to steep tobacco leaves in water and spray that over their plants to discourage insect munchers and lay hardwood sawdust over the ground to discourage nematodes in their ginger and potatoes.
    I wonder if neem plant extract might do the trick?
     
  9. Chookie

    Chookie Junior Member

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    Very interesting thread!

    I breed meal worms as an extra source of protein for my chickens at certain times. They are in the same order as ladybugs - Coleoptera. So they have a similar life cycle, from an egg to larva to pupa to beetle.

    The lady bugs are now at the end of their life cycle, their goal now is to eat and reproduce as much as possible before they die. I wouldn't worry so much about keeping the lady bugs going but focus on the next generation.....their eggs:)

    For meal worms - after a few weeks, maybe a month of keeping the beetles together mating, I transfer them to another container. This is so they don't eat their own eggs. Then the eggs hatch and I feed the larvae for another few months (and feed them to the chickens;)) Eventually they turn into pupa for about 10days and as soon as they hatch into a beetle I transfer them to a breeding container and the cycle begins again. If you don't transfer the beetles quick enough they eat the brains of the pupa :n:

    Who knows maybe a similar system may work for ladybugs?
     

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