Thursday, 2 July 2015

They come to you in barrels if you order them by post

One of my failed missions for Gardener's World Live was to find and purchase ladybirds (in some format or other). Alas, I could buy a hot-tub (and possibly a car?) at Gardener's World Live - but no ladybirds were to be found. To the internets!

Green Gardener will do you all manner of ladybird bundles (and your very own Bumblebee Nest, but I digress) but I opted for the cheapest, as this was strictly in an experimental vein. This turned out to be a great idea! The pack is slim enough to slip through a letterbox:

Ladybirds by post Ladybirds by post

If you're looking at that and thinking, aie, they're a bit tiny, you're right. These are very young ladybird larvae - not the groovy big aphid eating machines you get immediately before pupation. But from tiny larvae, great things may still result. As evening fell, I gently shook one or two onto my blackfly infested broad beans (they're so small, it's a difficult job) as per instructions before heading over to a particularly impressively aphid-infested rose. Here a gust of wind took that annoying, fiddly task straight out of my hands and all over the rose, the ground, and the neighbouring plants.

Oh well.

A week later, the broad beans are still labouring under their blackfly load, the ant-farmers having presumably made short work of the tiny larvae. The rose, although I cannot find any of my larvae, is suspiciously free of aphids.

Ladybirds by post. Approved. Hurrah for the endless appetites of insects!


  1. I haven't seen the larvae since releasing them but our roses are far less aphid-crusted (though I'm still doing regular checks and removing some). Greengardener also sell adult ladybirds and ladybird food - I'm considering getting some with some ant control stuff (the nematodes) in case the explosion of ants have annihilated the larvae. Our borders are currently crawling with ants and I think they need to be taken back before they remove all the patio grout. On a side note, the wool pellet anti-slug 'Slug Gone' barrier sold by them but also by various Garden Centres - which I've used together with their nemaslug seems to have largely spared our strawberry bed of slimy depredations (I haven't put slug pellets down in ages).

  2. I'm far too sentimental to use nematodes! I've got straw round my strawberries this year, which has helped keep slugs at bay.