Where have all the ladybirds gone?

I don't know about everyone else, but I haven't seen a single ladybird in my garden this year and plants which are usually pretty trouble free are struggling as they are covered in blackfly and greenfly!

What's happened to our friendly predators? I don't like using chemicals and usually rub greenfly from my roses with my fingers, but I'd much rather encourage the ladybirds to do the job for me. What's going on this year? Has anyone else noticed it and why do you think it is? I have a bird feeder which someone mentioned on another thread would encourage sparrows to do the job, but I have never noticed sparrows perched on my plants.

My astrantias, foxgloves and roses are particularly coated with the little devils.

On the upside, bees are plentiful and very welcome visitors in my garden! image

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Posts

  • I had lots and lots of strange, spotless ladybirds a month ago.  Thought it was weird their spots had 'washed off' but they were still pretty and all....  Then I saw lots of my lillies were being decimated by something or other. Wasn't too worried, though, because those lovely, spotless red ladybirds sitting on my lillies would surely eat whatever pest was doing it so I left them alone to get on with their job...

     Oh well, we live and learn  image

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    I haven't seen a single ladybird either this year.

  • Think you might find that those lovely spotless red ladybirds are in fact Lilly Beetle just about the worst predator you can have in the garden,  check these image's

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1254&bih=615&q=lily+beetle&oq=lilly+be&gs_l=img.1.6.0l6j0i10l2j0l2.1626.7708.0.10526.8.8.0.0.0.0.61.405.8.8.0...0.0.0..1ac.1.17.img.0xy2d-3B5eE

     

     

  • Yes, Rainjustlearning, you're right.  I did find that out... eventually....image

  • Back on track... I haven't seen any ladybirds, or many aphids and only 2 singleton lily beetles. Birds are very busy on the feeders tho'... may be a connection there?image Are there any entymologists out there to give us some answers... was it the very hard winter and the cold March to blame?

  • Oh dear, Macavitythecat, lily beetles. I haven't got any of those, but am paranoid about vine weevils...nasty little critters!! Fortunately, they are pretty distinctive and thank goodness for nematodes.

    As for the lack of ladybirds, it's never been such a bad year for them from what I can see. Last year we had loads and everytime I found one I put it to work on a plant which was prone to problems (particularly my lupins which become infested unless I manage to find a ladybird). 

    Perhaps the GW team have looked into this but I can't find a report/blog about it on the forum. I wonder if it is due to the weird weather we are experiencing?

  • Gardengirl..Gardengirl.. Posts: 3,674

    They are mostly still ladybird larvae just starting to change into ladybirds I have a few in the garden, you can buy ladybird food from some GC for a few quid it is a small sashay you mix a bit with water and put around your garden to attract lady birds in

    http://www.wildforms.co.uk/ladybird-attractant.html

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ladybird+larvae&hl=en&qscrl=1&rlz=1T4TEUA_en___GB485&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=CF_VUcntLYSs0QXShoCgDw&ved=0CFkQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=588#imgdii=_

  • little-annlittle-ann Posts: 879

    thats interesting GG but i wonder if all the birds we feed have eaten the ladybird larva or the adult ladybirds 

  • Has anyone on the forum ever bought ladybirds? I've been contemplating doing so because I hate the idea of spraying aphids because having made a point of planting a special wildlife meadow this year to attract flying insects it wouldn't really be cricket to start pumping out chemicals all over the place. So buying some ladybirds seems a good idea but at £14.99 for 25, it could become a very expensive mistake if they just up and fly off to next door's garden.

  • little-annlittle-ann Posts: 879

    or the birds eat them image

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