While insects are usually seen as pests, many kids actually find ladybugs to be cute and playful. But ladybugs are not just cute; they are known to be “a garden’s best friend.”
Ladybugs are great to have in your garden because they eat soft-bodied insects, such as aphids, that are harmful to plants. Having ladybugs in your garden is a natural way to eliminate pests and can help keep a garden healthy without using stinky chemicals or insecticides.
If you want to attract ladybugs to your garden, they especially like plants such as tulips, lilies, dill and angelica. Local nurseries may also sell ladybugs during the spring and summer. Try Baker’s Nursery and Summer Winds Nursery in Phoenix and Warner’s Nursery and Landscape Co. in Flagstaff.
Ladybugs are most active in spring when the weather is nice and gardens are in bloom. They may try to find a place in your home to hibernate during the cold winter months, so keep an eye on them trying to sneak in through open doors and windows.
• There are over 5,000 different species of ladybugs in the world, including 500 species in the U.S.
• Common garden ladybugs do not bite people, but some bugs that look just like them do.
• Most ladybugs are black with red spots, but they can be yellow, orange and even pink!
By Amanda Formaro
You will need:
- Plastic or glass jar with lid
- Red, black and white non-toxic acrylic craft paint (look for the “AP Non-toxic” seal)
- Bug foam stamp
- Red polka dot fabric
- Sealer spray
- Paint the lid red. Paint a black semicircle at one end of the lid. Use the handle end of the paintbrush dipped in black paint to add different sized spots. Let dry.
- While that is drying, paint the surface of your foam stamp with black paint and press it onto the surface of the front of the jar.
- Use the handle end of the paintbrush dipped in white paint to add eyes, then let dry. Use a small paintbrush, handle end, dipped in black to dot on pupils, then let dry. For the tiny whites on the eyes, dip a toothpick in white paint or use a white paint pen.
- Use the handle end of a small paintbrush to add white dots to the back of the stamped bug, then let dry.
- Wrap a piece of red polka dot fabric around the jar and tie in a bow, trim the ends. Give everything a quick burst spray of sealer.
Amanda Formaro is a mother of four and the craft expert for Disney’s Kaboose.com. Find more crafts, recipes and activities at craftsbyamanda.com
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