Seven 7-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) on old cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) flower

How to make a ladybird and lacewing lair

Do it:

Sep, Oct, Nov

Takes just:

15 minutes

Ladybirds and lacewings are always welcome in a garden. As voracious predators of aphids at both adult and larval stage, they help to maintain a healthy balance. All insects like a warm, dry spot to retreat to in bad or cold weather, and this collection of twigs and sticks is the perfect resting place for them.

You will need

An old earthenware chimneypot or land drain

A few small logs

Bamboo canes

Secateurs

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Choose a selection of twigs and sticks of different thickness. Ensure they are dry as insects can succumb to fungal infections in winter if exposed to damp.

Make a simple box using thick, untreated wood. There's no need to add a back or front to it. Insert the larger pieces first. Cut hollow bamboo stems to length and add them to your chimneypot, inserting them around the logs. Make it a tight fit so they don't fall out.

Add the thinner sticks afterwards. Pack the box quite tightly so the twigs and sticks don't fall out - there will still be plenty of nooks and crannies for insects to sneak into. Place the box in a sunny, sheltered site ideally off the ground. It should attract new residents within a few weeks.

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Kate Bradbury

Kate Bradbury says

A small patch of nettles is a great way to entice ladybirds into your garden. Nettles attract the nettle aphid, Microlophium carnosum, very early in the year. This brings ladybirds into your garden before other aphids attack your ornamental plants, meaning the predators are present before the pests – useful in preventing huge infestations.

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