Grow Hack: Release and Maintain Ladybugs In Your Indoor Garden

Photo by AW

Nobody wants to use pesticides on their pot plants. Check out this simple method of releasing and maintaining a healthy population of ladybugs that will kill and prevent spider mites in your indoor garden.

It doesn’t matter if you grow the cannabis for yourself or for sale to dispensaries, nobody feels right inhaling even a little vapor off some chemicals after they burn in a joint or get extracted into hash oil. Ladybugs are generalist predators, meaning they feed off many pests. However, the most common pest people introduce ladybugs to kill is the dreaded spider mite. They voraciously eat spider mites and work excellently at quelling their infestations.

Anyone who has already tried releasing ladybugs may have noticed they only work for a short period of time, and if they don’t manage to kill all the spider mites in the garden, the infestation will quickly return. The most common mistake is not giving ladybugs a home and a chance to reproduce and grow their population to make up for natural deaths in the garden.

To give ladybugs a fighting chance against the spider mites, start by finding a suitable home for them. Start by releasing your container of ladybugs into a larger container (around 1.5-2 cubic feet) that has a source of water, food and a small opening. Many ladybugs will promptly exit the container through the opening and do the job they were intended to do, kill spider mites. The remaining ladybugs chill in the container and live the good life: eating, drinking and having lots of ladybug babies. This will ensure a consistent population of ladybugs that should outlive the population of spider mites.

Take, for example, a propagation tray. Leave the humidity trap open and place inside a source of food, water and the open container you bought the ladybugs in. A great source of food that many recommend is raisins. Soak the raisins in water for an hour to make them easier to bite into and place five or 10 on the bottom of the tray. For a source of water, take a natural sea sponge soaked in filtered (preferably bottled) water (not dripping, but definitely wet) and place it in the tray as well. Release the ladybugs, open the small opening at the top and watch them get to work!

Monitor the moisture of the sponge and top it off with small amounts of water, but be careful not to let all the ladybugs go if you decide to remove the top of the propagation tray. Ideally, you should try and replenish water and raisins without even opening the top of the tray; you can get creative on how to accomplish this.

Ladybugs work for any stage of the cannabis grow cycle, but ideally you should only use them in a separate vegetative room and try to keep them out of the flowering room. If you know your plants are spider-mite-free by the time it’s time to flower, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Releasing ladybugs into a room of flowering plants isn’t the worst, but it will mean that you’ll find some dead ladybugs remnants in the buds. If the weed is for yourself, your close friends and family, they shouldn’t care (it might even be a little funny). If the buds are for sale to a medical dispensary, you might want to think of another pest control strategy for your flowering plants. Again, if you treat vegetative plants with ladybugs prior to flowering, they should remain spider-mite-free thereafter.

Try to buy native ladybug species. Japanese ladybugs are an invasive species that will bite you and release a nasty substance (actually their blood) when spooked. Check out online guides to identify ladybugs on your own before you buy them.

Don’t miss our previous Grow Hack: Use Green Lacewings to Eat or Prevent Nasty Pests

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7 comments
  1. I have ladybugs in my apartment because they come each summer. No worries about spider mites since I have six ladybugs to defend my plants.

  2. This is a terrible idea. The bugs will just cause a mess and get killed in your fans and lights. Just use neem oil and soap along with hot water. shake it up real good and spray underside of leaves and all over the entire plant. Do this once a week and you’ll never have bugs. Do NOT do this once you start flowering.

    1. minus the soap… and if you don’t have shielded lights by now, shame on ya! Spraying while flowering is mandatory, if you want a healthy garden. Lights on of course, unless you like mold.

  3. Only time I have ever had mites is from other gardeners & visitors! Treat your garden like a quarantined room. no visitors, especially if they also grow. Ladybugs are a GREAT idea, however if you see signs of mites in your Veg stage, best to turn every plant upside down and spray that way. I personally will only order from HighSerria Ladybugs, fast shipping, bugs live longer than any others I have tried, & only found very few dead ones in shipping. They always give you way more than you ordered too! As for keeping the bugs around longer… spray light sugar water on your plants (lights on only) But beware! Sugar is the component that most pests need to thrive also! I have lost flowering plants due to ants moving into the dirt & devouring the root system. Mites follow the same pattern, 1 mite in 30 days can make 1 million more, think on that a min! Good luck friends, please save your comments.

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