Ladybugs vs. Aphids: Last One Standing

ladybug on Allium

Last bug standing?

I mentioned last week that I would be heading to the garden center for another batch of living ladybugs.  My lovely, onion-scented Allium is dripping in aphids and soot.  Ick, yuck and blech!

The first batch of ladybugs made some progress, but now all but one or two are gone.  They didn’t even leave a note to say why.

Where did they go?  The tasty aphid smorgasbord remains.   What’s an organic gardener to do?

Then I read this from OurWaterOurWorld.org:

Tolerate low to moderate numbers of aphids as long as they aren’t causing noticeable plant damage. There is a reason for this: aphids have many natural enemies such as spiders, ladybugs, lacewings and minute parasitoids (tiny non-stinging wasps) that often keep aphid numbers below damaging levels. These beneficial insects rarely appear on the scene until after aphids have begun attacking plants. This “lag-time” can be a day or two or as long as several weeks. As the season progresses, aphid control by these natural enemies improves because more natural enemies are attracted to your garden and more stay to breed.

So…I’m taking the wait and see approach as I keep a close eye on the plant.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to identify a different set of insects on my beloved pumpkins.  Stop by later this week for a look-see.  I bet you can hardly wait. 😉

11 thoughts on “Ladybugs vs. Aphids: Last One Standing

  1. Gads, it’s the wide kingdom isn’t it. What’s with those darn Ladybugs? Has it been windy and they got blown into another yard? Maybe they are onto another smorgy next door. I wonder if you build a bug house (like PJ planned) and put it in the garden if some of those ‘beneficial’ bugs would set up house and stay. You almost need to tent the anemones with your garden tent and then put the lady bugs in there. Then they’d have to stay and maybe eat more aphids. Good luck my dear. xo

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    • LOL I was eying the little creepers on my pumpkins today and wondering the very same thing. Could they be relocated for better good?

      No wind to speak of and the plant is on a sheltered porch step, but clearly they’ve moved on. I’m down to one!

      Thanks for your well wishes. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

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  2. It’s something about late summer isn’t it – they come out in force. I used to use a home made garlic spray, but think it kills off the beneficials too so stopped…. I then followed the advice of an old organic gardener who claimed ‘hand murder’ was the only way to go, so I duly resorted to the gloved hand running the length of the stalk and squishing them into aphid soup…. not pleasant but I got quite proficient at it for a while [I was protecting my beloved roses at the time] As Boomdee would say ‘Gads, what’s a gardener to do?’ If you don’t fancy the direct kill method you maybe need lots of little wax eyes and the like to gobble ’em up …. Good luck!

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    • I could have sworn I replied to this comment. I think WordPress gobbled it up. Must be in cahoots with those garden bugs!

      Aphid soup? Gads is right. I gave them a firm blast with the hose (to the pavement) and knocked down the worst of them. What’s funny is that the Allium smells like onions. You wouldn’t think they would have any appeal.

      Next year I’m going to try companion planting (a lot of bugs dislike marigolds for instance). I’ll put some thought into that.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  3. Pingback: Learning to Love Gardening | The Suburban Reaper

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