If you are a specialty crop grower on the West Coast, you may find yourself thinking: where can I get ladybugs? With the increase in aphids in many fruit and vegetable crops in the Pacific Northwest and California, many growers search for effective biological pest control for aphids. Ladybugs have been a popular sustainable solution used to control aphids for years. Unfortunately, our sales team has reported a shortage of ladybugs along the West Coast, which creates a struggle for growers who need aphid pest control.
But why is there a shortage of ladybugs, and what can growers use instead?
Recently there has been more interest among fruit and vegetable crop growers to utilize pesticide-free solutions, so naturally, there is more interest in trying beneficial insects1.
This shortage of beneficial insects also tends to be somewhat of a yearly trend. For example, last year, there was a similar decline in the supply of ladybugs due to their migratory patterns and cooler temperatures2. Ladybugs prefer to gather where temperatures are warm, and where they gather determines the amount that can be caught for use. Moreover, many crops in California and the Pacific Northwest that are being grown need effective pest control, so growers demand more ladybugs.
So, the demand for beneficial insects is increasing, while the supply for ladybugs has decreased briefly due to environmental impacts.
With the high demand and low supply of ladybugs, many growers think, what else can I use for sustainable pest control? There are a variety of other biologicals and biopesticides that are effective and sustainable. For example, our rosemary oil-based biopesticide, TetraCURBTM, has been shown to reduce woolly apple aphid populations by 79% after two applications3. TetraCURB is an effective biopesticide for woolly apple aphids, two-spotted spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, mealybugs, and lygus. See its product specifications here.
Kemin Crop Technologies harnessed the power of mother nature to design TetraCURB Concentrate and TetraCURB Organic, botanical oil-based, contact miticide-insecticides for commercial growers and farmers who want to get rid of soft-bodied insects and mite pests naturally and sustainably.
Some of the main benefits of botanical insecticides in horticulture and the advantages for growers are: