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Are Ladybugs Good for Plants?

Are Ladybugs Good for Plants?

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Ladybugs & You

Ladybugs are popular animated characters for a reason. They can be male and female and have charming black spots on their red or orange bodies. They also have many playful names, including ladybird, lady beetle, lady cow, and lady fly.

But how do they affect our gardens and house plants? We love that our plants can eliminate pollutants, increase creativity, and reduce stress. Since they help us so much, we want to keep our plants healthy as possible! Whether in the garden or the house, ladybugs provide many benefits to plants.

ladybug on flower - are lady bugs good for house plants?

You will likely notice ladybugs in your home in the fall. As the weather turns colder, the ladybugs come inside to seek shelter. They can be a pest in large numbers, but a few ladybugs in your home can benefit your house plants. 

Ladybugs are natural predators of multiple plant pests, including Aphids, Common Brown Scales, Common Whiteflies, Mealybugs, and Red Spider Mites. Because of this, ladybugs can reduce your need for insecticides. Insecticide use can be especially tricky indoors. So, having a few ladybugs patrolling your plants is always a good thing. 

Plant pests damage all kinds of plants and foliage. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on plant leaves and attract mold. If numbers get out of control, they can destroy ornamental plants. Common brown scales are tiny slug-like insects that create brown bumps, knobs, and dead spots on leaves. Common whiteflies create sooty mold on the underside of leaves. Mealybugs spread quickly, covering gardens in offputting white fluff. Red spider mites scar stems and leaves, leaving behind layers of red film and brown, streaky scarring. 

These tiny plant pests reproduce very quickly, making do-it-yourself (DIY) pest control difficult. Ladybugs work overtime for you, enjoying the free meals and balancing your garden’s health! 

Sometimes, ladybugs can start to feel overwhelming! There are ways to lower the number of pests you see while keeping a few to help your plants and the environment.

If you see an excess of ladybugs inside your home, get a free inspection with one of our certified technicians! They have the knowledge and training to effectively address unique situations, including reducing without destroying ladybug populations. Let our Fox Home Protection Plan take care of pest issues for you!

Watch Out for Asian Lady Beetles

compare asian lady beetle and ladybug

Ladybugs offer a lot of benefits to houseplants. However, you need to be cautious. What you think is a helpful ladybug may actually be an Asian lady beetle. Asian lady beetles are an invasive species in the United States. 

Unlike ladybugs, Asian lady beetles are not beneficial. They are considered actual pests. Asian lady beetles congregate in much larger numbers than ladybugs. They can also bite humans and leave yellow, smelly liquid on the surfaces in your home. 

Ladybugs vs. Asian Lady Beetles

LadybugsAsian Lady Beetles
More reddishMore orange
Spots on wingsSometimes no spots
Black, “M” marking on head

More Ways to Protect Your House Plants

Here are some additional tips and ideas for caring for your plants!

Preventing and Treating Plant Pests

  • Q-tips, combs, toothpicks, toothbrushes, or your fingernails can be used to gently scrape scale/other pests off of leaves/branches
  • Cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol can be helpful against mealybugs
  • Insecticidal soap or water/dish detergent mixes can be lightly sprayed on plants to repel plant pests
    • Hose down the plant shortly after treating it with the spray
  • Diatomaceous earth sprinkled on leaves can kill plant pests that come in contact

Supporting Plant Health

  • Debug houseplants regularly
    • One possible schedule is when you take them outside in the Spring, halfway through the Summer, and before moving them back inside in the Fall.
  • Repot once roots have reached the edges of the pot or container
  • Slowly introduce houseplants to new seasons
    • Spring
      • Take plants outside during the day and bring them back at night to avoid late-season frostbite.
    • Fall
      • Place plants in shady areas for a week or two before moving indoors for the Winter.
    • Winter
      • Keep indirect light on plants
      • Use a humidifier a few times a week if you live in dry climates
  • Let them rest
    • Reduce the amount of fertilizer and water you give your plants during winter to simulate their natural cycle.
    • Watering should be just enough so the soil doesn’t completely dry out.

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