Things You'll Need
A ladybug habitat, or a garden/yard
Ladybugs, also known as either ladybeetles or lady birds, are small non-poisonous insects. Their main diet consists of the plant damaging aphid insect. Ladybugs are a relatively cheap insect to purchase and feed. They can be kept as pets, or released into the wild, where they can be expected to live up to 3 years. The following is a guide to purchasing live adult ladybugs.
Prepare a lady bug habitat before you make your purchase. If you have a garden or yard, the ladybugs can be set free outside in the evening hours. If you plan to keep your ladybugs in an indoor habitat, you will need a large container, terrarium, or bug keeper to accommodate the bugs. Place a dampened paper towel in the habitat to provide the ladybugs with water.
Locate a ladybug breeder. Home and garden stores generally carry live ladybugs in the Spring and Summer months. If you choose to buy from an online retailer, be sure that the breeder ships fresh ladybugs, and provides a guarantee of their health. It is best for the ladybugs if they are shipped in a container that contains plants, and is basically a home away from home for them.
Note the arrival date of the ladybugs, if they are being shipped. Being present when they arrive is helpful, especially if the weather is very hot, or very cold.
Purchase food for your ladybugs. If you have access to leaves and rose bushes, place some in the habitat for the ladybugs to find aphids to eat. Non-acidic fruits and soft raisins make good food as well, but the ladybugs will eventually need aphids. Otherwise, purchase ladybug food from an online retailer. Ladybug food generally comes in a powder form.
Keep the ladybugs in a warm spot, preferably with pesticide free plants and leaves in the container for their enjoyment. It is likely that the ladybugs will lay eggs and you will be able to view the ladybug life cycle.
If you release your ladybugs outside, be sure to do so in the evening hours. Spraying the area with some water before you release them may keep the ladybugs interested in staying put.
Do not release ladybugs outside if the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ladybug photo from Yahoo! Images: www.pestcontrol-products.com, Ladybug habitat photo from Yahoo! Images: www.wonderpixie.com
Desi Crall has a B.A. in Political Science from California State University Sacramento, and is currently a graduate student of Elementary Education at the University of Phoenix. Desi has worked as a freelance writer for three years, with articles and blogs appearing on sites such as Examiner.com, Today.com, and BrightHub.com.