Frequently asked questions

Ladybug Questions:

When do you have ladybugs in stock?


In ideal conditions, we would have ladybugs year round; however, because our ladybugs are collected wild, a number of variables make this not always the case. Often the weather is too hot, cold, dry, or humid in California, where the ladybugs are collected (or 'picked') and we experience a shortage. The most often time this happens is late May/mid-June in the transition from Spring to Summer. Keep an eye on the front page of the site where updates on ladybug stock are posted.




How long can I store my ladybugs?


Each bag of ladybugs comes with a date stamped on the bag, ~a month from when you recieve them. We recommend putting out a portion of your ladybugs right away, storing the rest in the fridge for a couple weeks, then putting out the rest to follow up after the first application.




I have a spider mite infestation. Will ladybugs help me?


We get this question a lot - the answer? Usually not. Ladybugs are generalists, meaning they will eat a large number of different pests under various circumstances. This, however, doesn't negate the fact that ladybugs' preferred food is aphids, and if ladybugs believe they will find aphids elsewhere, they will likely move on from your spider mite infestation. If you do have spider mites, check out our page here to read up on our predatory mite recommendations for spider mite control.




I'm buying more than one of your products. Will ladybugs eat the other good bugs?


If there are pests present, no. Predatory mites are quick, and if there is easier prey, such as whichever pest you are targeting - spider mite, thrip, whitefly, aphids - the ladybugs will feed on the slow-moving pest instead. If you find that ladybugs are eating into beneficial mite populations, this is a sign that your pest numbers have become so low that the ladybugs have no other options.




How do I get my ladybugs to stick around?


We recommend that you release ladybugs at dusk when they are least active. Mist your plants and the inside of the ladybug bag before releasing them, as this will encourage them to stick around. You can also put out a dish of sugar water, apple cores, raisins - anything high in sugar will attract the ladybugs.




I'm seeing little, long, black and orange insects on my plants after I introduced ladybugs. Help!


These are likely ladybug nymphs, which love eating aphids! You can see a photo of them here, along with a photo of ladybug eggs here. This is a good sign, as it shows that the ladybugs you purchased from us are reproducing and establishing a population to fight pests.




Do you sell ladybug larvae?


No, we do not. All we sell are adult ladybugs, but in the right environment, the ladybugs will breed and lay their eggs on the plants, the larvae then hatching on your plants. Look out for ladybugs’ yellow, football shaped eggs sticking up from the leaves of your plant.




I want to create a habitat for ladybugs in my classroom/for my kids. How would I do this?


Begin with purchasing adult ladybugs directly from us. We suggest that you set up an aquarium-like habitat for them with a mesh roof. Of course, you would need to find plant material to serve as a habitat, and a food source for the ladybugs (preferably plants that are covered with aphids! If you can’t find any, try inquiring at a local nursery). A small dish of sugar water and an apple core will also help keep the ladybugs happy. Once the adult ladybugs have been released, they will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. These eggs will then hatch into larvae and students/kids can watch the entire life cycle, which takes approximately 2-4 weeks.




Do you raise your own ladybugs at The Bug Lady?


No, we do not. There is no one who grows or raises ladybugs; instead, they are collected wild as adults from California and sent directly to us.




I’m seeing ants as well as aphids on my plants. What can I do to get rid of the ants?


In order for ladybugs to effectively control aphids, the ants must be taken care of, as ants farm aphids in order to feed on aphid-produced honeydew. We recommend that you put out ant traps before introducing any biological aphid controls. Ant traps can be purchased at your local Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or any hardware store.




Why are ladybugs unavailable this summer?


We received word from our supplier that we will not be receiving any summer ladybugs this year.

This is a shock to us, as this is the first time this has happened in Bob’s experience with ladybugs, which goes back to 1992. Commercial ladybugs come from California, and are collected from migrating swarms that escape the summer heat in the valley to the much cooler foothills nearby. We have had a “perfect storm” created by the combination of a prolonged drought (which is not that unusual) with the wildfires that made the news this past fall, which likely destroyed many of these hibernation sites.