How to Raise Lady Bugs
Raising and keeping ladybugs is easy with a simple artificial habitat. The insects are useful for reducing aphids in your garden or as a fun experiment for children. The adult insects have a short life span in captivity and will rarely surpass two weeks of life unless they have a steady supply of natural food sources.
Create a habitat for your ladybugs in a clear plastic container or glass jar. Poke holes in the lids for oxygen and to encourage a moderate amount of humidity. Place a damp paper towel in the jar for humidity and replace it every couple of days. Keep a stick with some leaves in the jar for habitat. This gives the ladybugs a place to crawl and lay eggs. They lay eggs on the bottom-side of leaves.
Search for ladybugs in your garden and around leafy bushes. Capture the ladybugs with minimal handling. Either shake the plant to drop them in the jar or use tweezers to lightly grab and place them in the jar. Also look for the larvae crawling on leaves and the eggs underneath the leaves. Keep the habitat in an area with shade after they are trapped in the jar.
Feeding Ladybugs Naturally
Ladybugs feed on and are an excellent pest control mechanism for your garden. Cover individual plants with a screened box after placing the ladybugs on the plant. Let them go to work eating the aphids until the plant is clear. Then either move them to another plant or place them back inside the artificial habitat.
Ladybugs require aphids for long-term survival but they will live for a week or two as mature adults with food substitutes. Soak a cotton ball in honey water and place it inside the habitat to provide nutrition. Also add small amounts of fruit to the habitat for additional food.
Maintain the Habitat
Check your container daily and remove any dead ladybugs. Poke any that look dead with a stick to check for signs of life. Keep the paper towel moist and remove old food particles that are not eaten. Old food will rot and grow mold.