What Attracts Ladybugs? As a homeowner or gardener, you’ve probably spent a large amount of time trying to get rid of pests. However, some insects are beneficial. One of these insects includes the lady beetle, more commonly known as the ladybug. But where do ladybugs come from and what attracts ladybugs to gardens?

Where do ladybugs come from? The original term for this beetle was actually “ladybird.” While these are beetles, and not technically bugs, the name later became Americanized to ladybug. However, a more accurate term for them would be "lady beetle."

More than 475 species of lady beetles have been identified in North America. They come in bright shades of yellow, pink, orange, red or black and often have distinctive spots. These unique markings help lady beetles fend off predators. Many of the most popular lady beetles that exist in the United States today were purposefully introduced to the region as a form of natural pest control. This includes Harmonia axyridis, the Asian lady beetle, and Hippodamia convergens, the convergent lady beetle.

Lady beetles are natural enemies to a large number of pests, most importantly aphids. Aphids damage plants by distorting growth or sometimes transmitting viruses to vegetables and ornamental plants. A single lady beetle can eat as many as 5,000 aphids during its lifetime. They may also feed on insect eggs, small larvae and plant pollen.

As a note of caution, however, some species of lady beetles can become structural pests once they’ve entered homes. For example, while they do not breed indoors, large populations of the Asian lady beetle have been discovered inside homes. These insects can become a nuisance when they bite. While their bites are mostly harmless, humans who have developed a sensitivity to these beetles may have an allergic reaction. It should be noted that this is not a common issue, but if you experience any allergic reactions then you should seek medical attention. The benefits of lady beetles often far outweigh the concerns.

If you have decided that ladybugs are an ideal way to protect your garden, it’s time to understand what attracts ladybugs. For example, “Are ladybugs attracted to light?” How about color or specific plants? Knowing what attracts ladybugs may also help keep them in your garden and out of your home.

To attract lady beetles to your garden, consider planting marigolds, dahlias, daisies, asters, cosmos, Calendula, Coreopsis, tansies, yarrows, Zinnia or sunflowers. These types of plants appear to be attractive to lady beetles. Dandelions, which begin to pollinate earlier in the spring, may also attract lady beetles that consume plant pollen as part of their diet.

Lady beetles are attracted to light, the exteriors of light-colored homes and the heat that homes produce. To prevent lady beetles from entering your house, keep the lights around your home off when not in use, or use yellow "bug light" bulbs. Prevent heat from exiting your home by installing insulation and sealing any gaps or cracks.

Lady beetles can be an ideal solution for protecting garden plants from aphids, but they can’t protect you from all pests. If pests have become a problem in and around your home, let Terminix® help.