Release the ladybugs!

doomahxJune 27, 2012

I have recently acquired some lady bugs to take care of my leafhopper issue, my leaves are getting eradicated by them and the soapy solution that I had read about was not working. I have read up on the process, when to release them, providing water, flowers they like etc.

My main question is how many I should release. My balcony is roughly 4X15 with the containers in two areas about 7 feet apart. Should I just put a few in each container? 10? 20?

I read that they will remain alive for two weeks in the fridge, is this true? The smallest QTY the store had was 1000 which I assume is way too many so I was planning on releasing the leftover ladybugs in a few different large parks.

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howelbama(7 NJ)

I would keep your excess ladybugs in a small screen type container and provide them with food and water...kept in a cool shady area maybe give them a good misting occasionally. Release maybe 20 per container at a time... They will probably fly off quickly, so I think you will need all of them. Unfortunately they don't stay on command :) I've heard of people spritzing them with a diluted sugar solution so they can't fly, but that seems a bit harsh to me though it may work...covering your containers with a fine mesh net secured all the way around may be effective, but would also be more work, and may be counterproductive because it would also trap the adult leaf hoppers in there...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 6:42PM
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I released some last night and it looks like some have stayed up until now. Hopefully they will still be around when I get home but I will release some more anyhow just to make sure.

If these all fly away and don't take care of my problem then what would the next step be? I got some yellow traps but i read that those also catch beneficial insects which i would rather not do but if I don't have any choices then so be it.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 6:55AM
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I got home tonight and noticed that my cucumber leaves look worse than ever. I'm not sure if this is from the leafhoppers or if it has some sort of a disease.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 6:49PM
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    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 6:51PM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Probably a bacterial infection due to the nasty leafhoppers. I don know of there is much you can do... If you can get the leafhoppers under control, the pant will probably make it. I would remove the badly affected leaves, bag them up and put them in the trash.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2012 at 10:14PM
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I put up some yellow sticky traps and within 30 seconds they already caught a few. I also released some more lady bugs last night, from what I read they are not attracted to the color yellow so they should be OK with the traps.

I am determined to fight off these little green terrorists and will continue to do so until the last leaf or leafhopper falls, whichever comes first. :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 6:16AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)


I think one of the problems with the ladybugs is that they don't really eat the adult leafhoppers, only the eggs and nymphs. Once the are grown, they have tough exteriors, and can escape easily. The traps may be your best bet. Also, if you try soap again, I hav read that mixing in a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol per quart of insecticidal soap increases the effectiveness because the alcohol softens their shell and allows the soap to work.

You may want to google and double check the dilution rate, I pulled that from memory, so it may not be correct.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 8:47PM
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Will try the rubbing alcohol. My wife also has some neem oil, i read that can be effective. Are there any downsides to using it?

Another question, we are in the middle of a heatwave that will last until tuesday. When would be the best time to spray the plants with it? Early morning?

Thanks for all of the help so far!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 7:06AM
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