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I have looked around and I have seen some recommendations for plants to attract ladybugs, for example, a few sites list that alyssum works well.

I am hoping to find out others experiences about certain plant choices and how well or not well desired insects were attracted, you would guess, because of the planting.

Perhaps if different plants were tried was there a particular plant or some plants that seemed to do better than others for attracting the insects?

In particular I am most interested in learning about others experiences with plants to attract ladybugs and praying mantis, since I appear to have a problem with aphids. Also, are there any other beneficial insects to attract to quell these aphids?

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2 Answers

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Ladybugs are attracted (rather than particular plants) by aphids, scale insects and Sternorrhyncha, 3 suborders of Hemiptera, their main favourite food. So it is better to look for which plants are more susceptible to infestations of aphids.

In my experience, the most affected are roses roses nasturtiums

nasturzi

  • grapes,
  • almost all types of echeveria with flowers
  • and all legumes (especially beans) that are grown until they were covered with aphids. Here are toppled to the ground for a natural and intensive nitrogen fertilization.

Aphids attract ladybugs. But they are often breeded by ants. So it is often necessary to choose whether to remove the ants (which kill ladybugs) or have both.

About mantids, they are also carnivorous. In Italy they are not so common. But, as far as I know, they haven't preferred prey. I couldn't say, then, which plant to choose. Here an article on breeding mantids. But it does not talk about favourite plants.

Instead I think you can buy them, as well as spiders and snakes.

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ladybugs look for the same trio as any animal: food,shelter and water. Think about supplying an area where they can overwinter, a pond with shallow edges and the "trap" plants violadaprile mentions –  kevinsky Mar 30 '13 at 21:28
    
Question was about plants - those plants are not traps but just where they could find food - a supermarket :) –  violadaprile Mar 30 '13 at 21:44
    
Typically, after the first fly, the adult remains for a short time in the same place where he grew, but then disperse in search of prey. Ethological complex phenomena have been observed, on migration, reproduction and gregariousness and correlated with food availability. This means that food availability is the main method to keep them in a place. –  violadaprile Mar 30 '13 at 21:55
    
Thanks very much. I did buy some nasturtiums yesterday as I read that those are good for attracting aphids. I bought some beans too coincidentally ;) bring on the ladybugs! lol thanks again –  Starlight Mar 30 '13 at 23:33
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I don't understand the science behind this, but I always get large number of ladybugs when I plant pumpkins or squash. Maybe someone else can explain.

This also has some side benefits, you get to eat the pumpkins / squash and the flowers also bring large numbers of bees.

I also never noticed aphids at the same time, so that can be ruled out as a possible reason.

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Thanks I appreciate it ;)) –  Starlight Mar 30 '13 at 23:35
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Pumpkins and squash are good for aphids too. And flowers are, moreover, edible. You have to remove the hard part, put the flowers in "batter" (o) (egg, few salt and flour blended) and fry! yummy! - (o) (I don't know what does "batter" mean, google fault maybe) :P –  violadaprile Mar 31 '13 at 0:39
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