Ladybirds a great garden ally

As a child I was scared of every insect except the ladybird, because it was pretty, and now knowing how helpful they are in the garden I really love them – they are real ally, helping to keep pests in check and protecting your plants.

Ladybird larvae can eat 25 aphids a day and an adults over 50, and they will also eat mealybugs, leaf hoppers, scales and mites.

Ideally you want a healthy population in your garden before problems build up and you can attract them both by planting and artificial feeding stations.

Ladybirds also eat pollen, so grow plants they like to help attract them, umbels and composite flowers – made up of lots of tiny flowers are good choices – coriander, fennel, yarrow, angelica, scabious, coreopsis and cosmos.

materials: pipe, 20cm long by 3 or 4 diameter. String, Raisins

1 cut each end on an angle so the top extends out to keep the rain out.

2. Drill holes in the top and use string to hang it near plants likely to get aphids such as roses or tomatoes

3. Place a few raisins inside to draw the ladybirds and feed them if insects are scarce.

If you’re still having trouble attracting any, you can buy ladybirds to release in your garden

The illustration below shows how they transform from strange prehistoric looking beasties to the familiar shiny red; learn to recognize them at each stage of their lives so you don’t dispose of them by mistake,