Absolutely! Ladybugs in the garden are very effective in controlling a number of bad bugs, including aphids, spider mites and scale. An adult ladybug can eat 50 aphids a day and produce up to 1,500 progeny. Take that aphids!
In order to maximize the benefits of releasing ladybugs in your yard, provide them with conditions that make them inclined to stay. Generally, releasing them in the evening, after hosing down foliage where aphid activity has been spotted, will help ensure that they stick around. Releasing them in multiple small batches in the yard will help avoid competition for resources.
Being a natural control, your best success will come with using the ladybugs as part of an overall approach to your garden health. Give them time to work. Don’t expect the immediate results that come from a contact insecticide. Use other insecticides only as necessary and as labeled to minimize injuring or killing your ladybugs. Be on the lookout for their rather fierce some-looking young, who resemble black and orange ¼” alligators, and enjoy watching them devour aphids on your foliage.
Provide them with nectar and pollen as sources of food for the adults, and for when insect meals are scarce. Provide a water source as well. Your birdbaths and sprinkler system should do the trick. Use a variety of flowers and plants to feed your ‘ladies’ throughout the season. Some excellent plants for beneficial insects include many that may already be in your yard: coreopsis (tickseed), cosmos, dill, evening primrose, fennel, parsley, sweet alyssum and yarrow are great resources for your ladybugs.
If, despite your good care, you find that the ladybugs have moved on from your yard, don’t despair – they’re probably hard at work nearby, in a yard that needed their help. A healthy yard and community improvement!