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04/07/2013 at 11:29

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! 

04/07/2013 at 11:56

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 

04/07/2013 at 11:57

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

04/07/2013 at 12:23

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

 

 

04/07/2013 at 12:29

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

04/07/2013 at 12:43

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? Are there any entymologists out there to give us some answers... was it the very hard winter and the cold March to blame?

04/07/2013 at 12:44

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?

04/07/2013 at 12:46

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=_

04/07/2013 at 12:56

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

04/07/2013 at 12:57

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.

04/07/2013 at 13:01

or the birds eat them 

04/07/2013 at 13:27

I brought some ladybirds last year bit more expensive than that and some houses for them they were in the garden for a while but disappeared off, so through I would try the larvae so I brought ladybird larvae which seamed to stay longer and eat more bugs and the food sashay to help keep them longer in the garden you get more larvae about 50 in a small tube and I think they eat more bugs than ladybirds if that helped

This year just sticking to putting the food out to try make sure they stay in the garden and not spend so much money

Here is a larvae sticking to my watering can they cling on when they are starting to change to ladybirds

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26746.jpg?width=342&height=350&mode=max

 

04/07/2013 at 13:47

Where have the ladybirds gone?  They're all down here

04/07/2013 at 13:48

Oh dear, maybe I've been attracting the birds to eat the slugs and instead they've been gobbling all the ladybird larvae?!  I've never thought of buying ladybird food...crikey! there is a market for everything these days isn't there? What with bug hotels, hogitats (I love that word - a home for a hedgehog!) and larvae!! 

04/07/2013 at 13:52

Lucky you! Can you send some my way, Verdun please? Thanks 

04/07/2013 at 15:30

http://www.onekind.org/be_inspired/animals_a_z/ladybird/

i wasnt sure i could do this but it has worked so birds probably dont eat ladybirds

04/07/2013 at 15:44

It does seem odd! In early Spring I prune our roses, and in the hollow dead wood I often see ladybirds hiding away. This year there was none, and I havent see a single ladybird. Started to notice the tidal waves of aiphids over everything now, so perhaps it will encourge them "home".

04/07/2013 at 16:40

Just spotted one while on my dads allotment, only one, but still means they are still about.

04/07/2013 at 17:44

Yes, I have seen a dozen or more very encouraging.  I live by the sea in Penarth near Cardiff.  Parts of the garden are still very wild and thats where they seem to thrive.  A real joy to see

04/07/2013 at 17:45

we have seenany this year in our garden, my son is normally an excellent bug hunter, but even he cant find any. But this would explain, why theres been more aphids about, my roses have been attacked more than usual too.

lets hope they return soon.

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