Jun
24
2008

Backyard Insect Fun

Helping release the ladybugs.
Helping release the ladybugs.Courtesy Me
This past Sunday I released 1500 ladybugs in my backyard with my wife and daughter. It was awesome. I had gone to the local garden center to get some more praying mantis egg cases as I was pretty sure the ones I had put out earlier this spring had died as we had a couple of very late frosts. But, while I was in there they had this bag of ladybugs, and what can I say? They are cool bugs – I couldn’t resist.

Ladybugs are helpful because they eat other insects that are damaging to gardens or crops. In fact, the Mall of America here locally releases thousands of ladybugs in the amusement park to control insect pests. Don’t confuse them with Asian Beetles – ladybugs are a native insect.

The praying mantis is not native to Minnesota, but they are okay to release as they won’t survive the winter. I put out three egg cases earlier this spring with no luck almost two months later, so I bought two more cases as I am reasonably sure it won’t get below freezing again for some time. They are also beneficial as they eat other bugs (but interestingly, not ladybugs). Each egg case could release up to 200 mantises…the potential is there for 1000 mantises. Sweet.

My neighbors are viewing my releases a little skeptically, but I can’t wait to see the mantises and to show them to my daughter, who is not squeamish at all with bugs. She was quite helpful with the ladybugs and thought the whole thing to be quite fun, even when they were crawling all over her arms.

If you are interested in releasing ladybugs or praying mantises in your backyard, there are lots of internet sites that sell them, but also be sure to check your local garden center too.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Jeanne Burns's picture
Jeanne Burns says:

Do you know if they will eat the emerald ash borer?

posted on Sat, 05/29/2010 - 12:30pm
arbordoctor's picture
arbordoctor says:

Woodpeckers will eat the larve of this insect. I dont think you want them around though. They do as much damage to your tree as the bug itself. Go to http://www.arbordoctor.net to learn more about tree diseases.

Bryan Gilles
Arbor Doctor

posted on Wed, 09/15/2010 - 11:57am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

I did a little on line hunt, and I don't think so.

Also, we did our annual ladybug release at our house a couple of weeks ago. If you go to your local garden center it is likely you can buy ladybugs through the 4th of July...

posted on Wed, 06/23/2010 - 1:35pm

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