Bees and ladybirds (sometimes called ladybirds) are beneficial to gardens and yards. They will not eat your plants or flowers, and in fact help new plants grown by carrying pollen from one spot to another. Ladybirds are excellent for pest control, as they prey on many insects that are harmful to ornamental and crop plants. Attracting these helpful bugs to your garden can be accomplished by providing the food they like and a safe, poison-free environment.
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Pesticides and Insecticides
Do not use pesticides or insecticides in a garden or yard in which you wish to attract bees and ladybirds. Ladybirds eat aphids, spider mites, potato beetles and corn borers and mealy bugs, which will be eliminated by pesticides and insecticides. According to the website "BeeSpotter," even low doses of insecticides can disrupt the innate orientation and navigation skills of foraging honeybees, causing them to lose their way back to the nest. If a pesticide is brought back to the nest, it can be transferred to nest mates or incorporated into the honey, altering the development of larvae and affecting the future of the colony.
Goldenrod for Bees
Goldenrod is the most important food for bees; it blooms through late fall and allows them to bulk up for the winter. Goldenrod is chock-full of nectar and pollen. Often considered a weed by gardeners, goldenrod can be invaluable in attracting bees to your yard.
Flowers and Food for Bees
Bees will visit a garden for many nectar and pollen-filled plants. A few favourites are bluebeard, sunflowers, skyflower, cosmos, sea holly, hardy ageratum, milkweed, marigold, hyacinth, dahlia, coneflower, crocus and geranium. Bees will also feed from the plants of many fruits and vegetables, such as zucchini and squash, berries, apples and watermelon. Spices like sage, chive, rosemary and oregano provide food for bees.
Flowers and Food for Ladybirds
Though insects make up the largest part of the ladybird's diet, they also need to eat pollen. Flowers most likely to attract ladybirds are umbrella-shaped. A few popular choices are dill, fennel, cilantro, tansy, caraway, angelica, yarrow, wild carrot cosmos (especially white ones), dandelions, coreopsis and scented geraniums.
Shelter and Nesting
Though a garden cleaned and raked of all dead leaves, sticks and decaying trees may look attractive to humans, it is not so to bees and ladybirds. In the fall, adult ladybirds often hibernate in plant refuse or under rocks. They seek areas where leaves protect them from cold winter temperatures. Likewise, many native bees make nests in old pieces of wood or in hollow cavities of dead trees.
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