Ladybug Release Instructions

A striking ladybug adult

Reviving your ladybugs after their travels

The ladybugs are going to be dehydrated and you should let them slake their thirst before releasing them. You can use any method that allows them access to water without letting them get away from you. One technique is to cut a clean sponge into cubes about 1/2 to 3/4 inch on a side, then get these soaking with water and toss them into the package with the ladybugs. Leave them for at least an hour or so to allow them to draw all the water from the sponge that they want. You can also use a mist sprayer by opening the package for a moment and spraying them. Be sure to stop before water is puddling in the bottom of the package. You can even build a bigger box with wet sponges, wet towels, etc., to keep them in before release, allowing them to strech their legs, get hydrated, and hopefully get their appetite going.

The orange spotted black ladybug larva

Releasing your ladybugs

The best time to release them is a little before dawn, while it is cool. If there is dew on the plants, this is a bonus, since it gives the ladybugs more opportunity to hydrate. The cool temperatures and weak light let them settle into their new environment so they can "wake up" as the sun comes up and start the day at their own pace.

The second best time is after sunset. Again, it is cooler and not so bright, so they are more likely to find a place to pass the night, until the next dawn gets them moving again.

Once they have satisfied their thirst and you're at the time of day you want to release them, take the package with the ladybugs to the area where you want to let them go and open the cup. If it is so cool that the ladybugs are not moving, or you are in a hurry, you can tap the cup to knock them out, otherwise, it is best to hold the cup against the infested plants and let some crawl out onto the plant on their own, moving the cup from plant to plant until they are all out and climbing around your garden.

Download these instructions as a PDF file.