Many gardeners have heard that ladybugs might be positive additions to their gardens, but may not fully understand why. Furthermore, they may even have a NEED for ladybugs, but don’t know how to attract them or keep them around once they’ve arrived. Perhaps you’ve purchased ladybugs from your local garden center, only to release them and watch them fly away somewhere else. 

This confusion leaves many gardeners with gardens full of “bad bugs” like aphids and mites, and in need of a healthy, natural solution. 

If you’re looking for a solution on how to keep aphids and mites away from your garden in a safe, natural, organic way – ladybugs are the answer. This guide will teach you how to not only attract them, but keep them there. We also discuss how to remove ladybugs once they’ve outstayed their welcome. 


Why You Should Want Ladybugs in Your Garden



Ladybugs for Garden Pest Control


Ladybugs help control insects like aphids that can damage your garden. In fact, ladybugs are one of the most effective predatory insects around – and love to make a meal out of the bad ones. In particular, aphids, mites, and scale. If you’re looking for how to get rid of aphids in a natural way, introducing ladybugs to your garden (and keeping them there) is the answer. 

Remember that good bugs are living creatures and they will want to be where they are most comfortable. The way you keep ladybugs around is simple if you know what you’re doing. Treat them right, provide them what they’re looking for, and they’ll stay on patrol guarding your plants and keeping your garden free of bad bugs for as long as you need them. 


How to Attract Ladybugs


Ladybugs are no different than other animals or insects. They’re a living thing, and like all living things, they are more likely to remain in your garden if the conditions are right to keep them happy. Be sure there is water in your garden in addition to food sources. Either turn on your sprinklers frequently, or consider having very small “bowls” of water – these could be bowl-shaped rocks that water can collect in. Don’t expect a bug to be able to get water from a bird feeder or anything significantly larger than themselves without drowning!


What do Ladybugs Eat? 


Ladybugs love to eat other insects. Their favorites just so happen to be destructive pests like aphids, mites, and scale. Besides pests, they’re also interested in nectar and pollen. So, if you can’t provide them bugs to eat, there are still ways to attract them by introducing pollen-producing plants.


Plants and Flowers That Attract Ladybugs


It is important to provide ladybugs with an alternative food source when meals of pest insects are scarce. Flowers produce nectar and pollen, which ladybugs also need to survive. Plan your garden to feed beneficial insects by choosing a variety of plants that will bloom as many months of the year as possible.

There are many plants that attract ladybugs, but some we would recommend include

1. Dandelions


2. Dill


3. Garlic


yes, this is actually what a garlic flower looks like above the ground

4. Geraniums


5. Mint

mint-to-attract-ladybugs (1)

6. Parsley


Don’t be surprised if the ladybugs leave after they have removed all your bad insects, though.

They will only stick around for as long as there is a good food source in your garden. Which brings us to our next point…


Make a Ladybug Feeder


You may be interested in keeping ladybugs around for reasons beyond pest control (maybe you just love the way they look). They are pretty cute, we wouldn’t blame you. Consider making a ladybug feeder! This will ensure they stick around your garden consistently. If and when those pesky bad bugs DO return, you’ll have security guards on call 24/7! 


How to Release Ladybugs


When you’ve brought your ladybugs back home, it is best to release them in the evening just after the sun has gone down, and just after you have watered the garden. This will help keep them in the garden, as typically they are dehydrated upon their release and won’t be able to go far. If there is water aplenty, they’ll be motivated to stick around and make themselves at home. Then, assuming they find a food source, they’ll know that this is paradise they’ve been dreaming of, and there’s no place they’d rather fly off to!

It is also better to release ladybugs in small batches all around your garden rather than in one big group; otherwise they might start fighting for territory.




How to Get Rid of Ladybugs


If you have a “ladybug problem” (if that exists), and you have a good reason for wanting them gone from your garden, it’s a matter of simply removing their food sources and they’ll soon fly away to seek a new home. To remove ladybugs from your garden, simply remove plants that create pollen from your garden, or reduce sources of water.

We always strongly advise gardeners to avoid using pesticides to remove insects. Yes, they’ll kill the ladybugs, but they’ll potentially ruin your entire little ecosystem by introducing harmful chemicals to the mix. It might be tempting to solve the problem quickly with chemicals, but for the sake of the rest of your plants, do it in a way that doesn’t harm the balance you’ve achieved. The rest of your garden will continue to flourish and thank you.

A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.

Born and raised in the Portland Metro Area… Tim has had an appreciation for the outdoors from a young age.  Inspired by our local beauty ranging: the Mt Hood National Forest to salty, sea spray of Cannon Beach, the arid high-desert of Central Oregon to the rugged terrain of Steens Mountain – Tim sought higher education at the University of Idaho in their Landscape Architecture department.  Graduating with honors in 2004, he returned home to establish his professional career.

Now making his home in Sandy, Oregon – Tim and his wife [Nicole] are raising two happy and healthy kiddos and 4 fur-babies.  Between soccer, football, cheerleading, girl scouts and other extra-curricular activities… the Sellin family are heavily involved in their community and church family.  Since college, Tim has spent 13 of his 17 years with Drake’s 7 Dees and has ‘set roots’ in anticipation of long-term growth at the family-focused company.  Having spent his time away from Drake’s in a ‘boots on the ground’ capacity, Tim has fostered a love for the operational/production side of landscape business, as well as the design/sales.

His goal in life as well as business is to put others first.

Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture, BSLA… 2009
California Polytechnic University, Pomona… Cum Laude
American Society of Landscape Architects – Honor Award

Steven has 15 years of experience in the residential landscape design/build and garden center industry, including 9 years with Drake’s 7 Dees. Steven also has experience working with the National Park Service in Yosemite on sub-alpine restoration projects, as well as volunteer experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer serving the community of Zaouiat d’Ifrane in Morocco.

Together, Steven and his wife Anna have four lovely children, all 5 years old and under! In his (very limited) spare time, Steven enjoys camping, hiking, archery hunting, and cooking. Steven’s passion for his work lies in helping others, through design to envision a more beautiful space that, once built, becomes a reality that improves their quality of life.