We love ladybugs for their bright, cheery colors, the luck they’re supposed to bring, and the fact that they’ll never bite us. Farmers and gardeners also love these little beetles because they keep their plants safe. National Geographic explains: “Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed.”
Sadly, the native population of ladybugs, like that of bees, is in decline. There are around 5,000 species of the beetles worldwide, and the Lost Ladybug Project is calling on citizen scientists to report any sightings so it can accurately log any U.S. ladybugs. The group’s website reads “Over the past 20 years, native ladybugs that were once very common have become extremely rare. During this same time, ladybugs from other parts of the world have greatly increased both their numbers and range. This is happening very quickly and we don’t know how, or why, or what impact it will have on ladybug diversity or the role that ladybugs play in keeping plant-feeding insect populations low.”
You can join this worthy cause by submitting your ladybug photos to the site, but how about taking things a step further and encouraging the little creatures to move into your very own yard? We’ve put together a list of our four favorite ladybug habitats, all of which are pleasing to the human eye and hopefully even more pleasing to the insect one.
WudWerx Bee House and Insect Home
To make these intricate little homes, Wudwerx combined sections of natural bamboo with a traditional wooden frame. Designed for both bees and ladybugs, the houses provide insects with an insulated shelter during the cooler months. Each house also comes with a convenient hanger, so you’ll be able to position yours in a sheltered spot that catches some sun but protects your tenants when the rain comes. If you like, the designers will even engrave a name, address, or welcoming message onto the roof for you!
If you prefer a more rustic look, then this wooden home is the habitat for you. This house is also made from untreated bamboo but has been covered in an outer layer of durable pine, making it the perfect nesting and hibernation retreat for ladybugs. Hang it up near the flowers in your garden to attract the beneficial beetles, and they’ll keep your plants aphid-free in lieu of rent.
This round home’s handcrafted cedar exterior makes it a great focal point for any garden. Ladybug-sized holes have been drilled into its sides for easy access. “A fun ladybug border adorns the top and bottom,” explains the carpenter who makes them, “and the bottom unscrews so you can add twigs.”
Unlike the habitats we’ve covered so far, this cute house is made from recycled plastic instead of wood. The home’s description on Etsy includes a useful tip on enticing ladybugs into moving in:”Ladybugs are attracted to nectar and certain aromatic plants and herbs. To encourage them to use your house, you can soak a small piece of clean sponge in sugar-water to put inside the house. Or you can put in some leaves of aromatic plants such as yarrow, dill, coriander or dandelion flowers.”
Now that’s good advice — no matter which house you choose!