Among the many beneficial bugs that help plants and the environment in many ways, ladybugs are mentionable. These beautiful little creatures are a treat to the eyes and help plants get rid of many pests.
Do ladybugs eat spider mites?
Yes, ladybugs eat spider mites along with many other pests. They eat the eggs, larvae, nymphs of spider mites, and mature mites as well. They can eat approximately 90 spider mites a day. That makes them feed on around five thousand mites throughout their lifetime of one year.
Ladybugs are of different species. They feed on different insects based on their nature. Most of these bugs are omnivores and feed on insects. Some are herbivores and eat plant sap and pollen, along with some fungal organisms.
Spider mites are not insects, to be precise, but arachnids. Ladybugs like to eat spider mites. Ladybugs can eat different types of pests and insects as they are a predator of the generalist type.
The life cycle of spider mites is on average of 6 days. And ladybugs eat spider mites at every stage of the life cycle. They eat the larvae, eggs, and mature spider mites as well.
Do ladybugs eat spider mite eggs?
Spider mites are microscopic and reproduce faster than you can imagine. There are around 1200 species of mites. They damage your plants by sucking up the juices of the plants penetrating the cell walls.
But you can control these mites using natural predators or biological predators. Some specific bugs can reproduce in number to beat these spider mites. Ladybirds are one of those kinds.
Ladybugs eat mites and as well their eggs. These eggs are transparent at their early stage. Then when they gradually mature, they turn opaque.
There are different life stages of the mites, the preliminary stage of egg, then larvae and nymphs, and finally the mite. Ladybugs eat spider mites at all their life stages.
Introducing ladybugs on the plants infested with mites can help control the mites to some extent. They fly from plant to plant and eat spider mites along with their eggs. Ladybugs are more effective in terminating red spider mites.
5 reasons why ladybug eats spider mites –
Ladybugs love to feast on pests. And these include spider mites. There are some characteristics of the bug itself that attracts them towards mites.
Moreover, making a favorable environment around your plants infested with mites can also attract ladybugs to eat spider mites. Some of these reasons are:
Ladybugs might look small, but they are the predators that put an end to pests at large and eat them. They are generalist predators that eat small pests. It is one of the reasons why ladybugs eat spider mites.
The smell of spider mites:
The smell of the mites also attracts ladybugs. Mature ladybugs fly from leaf to leaf and eat spider mites.
The smell of the damaged plant leaf:
Spider mites are dangerous creatures that damage plants. And they infest the backside of leaves.
Spider mite breaks in the cell walls of plant cells and feeds on the cell sap. This smell of the plant sap also attracts ladybugs, and thus they come and eat the spider mites residing there.
Favorable conditions are made to attract ladybugs or make them stay in the plants for a long time. These include leaving sweet foods, apple core, or leftover sweets, etc. These smells also attract ladybugs.
Misty condition of plants:
Moreover, ladybugs like the misty condition of plants. You can also mist your plant. And a little trick is to do this at dusk. At that time, they are the least active.
And thus it will attract them to eat whatever they get at the nearest and nit leave your plant.
How many spider mites can a ladybug eat?
Ladybugs are friendly bugs for plants. They feast on the parasites of the plants without causing them any harm. There are different kinds of spider mites. Ladybugs can eat spider mites in large quantities.
The life cycle of spider mites completes in 8 – 12 days. And a ladybug lives for around one year. And they complete their life cycle of maturing in four to eight weeks.
Ladybugs can eat nine mites in one hour. And they eat for 8 – 11 hours a day. So, this makes them eat around 75 – 100 spider mites a day.
But ladybugs cannot tolerate pesticides. So, do not use pesticides in the plants with ladybugs. It will drive them away from the plants with the chemicals to the ones without them.
The eating capacity of ladybugs in their lifetime is enormous. In its lifetime, it can savor as many as five thousand insects as well.
How many ladybugs should I release to control spider mites?
Spider mites infect plants at large. They form a web around leaves and spread up to large areas very fast.
Infestation of spider mites is not easy to treat. Ladybugs are plant-friendly, and they eat spider mites. As such, you may think of using ladybugs to control spider mites infestation.
But ladybugs are not ideal creatures or natural predators that can effectively control spider mites. Yet, they can reduce the population of spider mites if you release some of them in your gardens.
Ladybugs can eat around 75 to 100 spider mites a day, and their lifetime is around one year. If your garden is infected with millions of spider mites, then you have to release the proportionate amount of ladybugs as well.
If there are aphid plants around your infected area, then there is a chance that these bugs might leave your garden and go there. To treat spider mites infestation, make favorable conditions for the stay of ladybugs and then let them do their task.
What do ladybugs eat?
There are different species of ladybugs, most of which prey on insects. Few ladybugs feast upon leaves. But they are negligible in number and not harmful as well. Some of the foods of ladybugs are:
Ladybugs are voracious eaters. They are predators that love to eat aphids. Aphidophagous are the species that feed on aphids. They find aphids and leave other food sources if they find aphids nearby.
Pollen and nectars:
There are plant-based ladybugs as well. They feed on nectars of trees and pollens. Polliniferous are the species that feed on these.
They also eat fungal organisms like mildews. They are known as Mycophagous.
Acariphagous ladybugs feeds on spider mites. They can eat a lot of mites and similar pests as well.
Coccidophagous eats coccids or scale insects. These are the main food of this species.
Eggs of pests and insects:
Ladybugs eat eggs of spider mites, butterflies, beetles, and many other insects.
Larvae of bugs:
Larvae of butterflies, moths, maggots, beetles, etc., are also the food of ladybugs.
Honeydew or honey:
Some ladybugs also eat honeydew or honey as their food.
Surprising enough, ladybugs also eat eggs and larvae of other ladybugs.
Ladybugs have an infinite appetite. They love to prey on insects and pests.
How do I get rid of spider mites?
Spider mites are tiny arachnids. They feed on plant leaves and nutrients. They are lethal for the survival of plants if they infest them. Spider mites infestation is most common in the dry and hot summer. These environmental conditions are ideal for their rapid infestation.
There are many ways to get rid of spider mites from your garden or field. Some of the ways are:
These remedies are ideal for the temporary removal of spider mites. They are not in use for permanent solutions. Because washing away spider mites does not guarantee their extinction from your plants.
- You can use biological predators like ladybugs, lacewings, etc., to control the spider mites population.
- Essential oils mixed with water and spraying in plants can keep the spider mites away from your plants.
- Dish soap, rubbing alcohol can keep the population of spider mites in check. Apply them in leaves using cotton pads.
- Hot peppers and their extracts can also help you get rid of spider mites.
Chemical remedies eradicate spider mites permanently and help you get rid of them for good.
- Pesticides can rid your plants of spider mites. But it can also destroy useful insects.
- Horticultural oil is an effective alternative for pesticides to eradicate spider mites.
- Diatomaceous earth also helps control arachnids like spider mites. Spread them by sprinkling in the infested areas.
- You can always call for pest control for the most effective results.
The trouble that spider mites cause to plants can be mitigated at the early stage using ladybugs. Ladybugs feast on spider mites. They are attracted to their smell and the smell of the damage they cause to the plants. It makes them one of the favorite food of the bugs among the many foods they eat.