Frequently Asked Questions
How do I order?
What shipping method do you use? Canada Post?
No, we do not ship via Canada Post. We ship all our products via courier, typically Purolator. We do this because our products are shipped live in cooled boxes, and typically should arrive in under 3 days. Feel free to contact to contact us with any concerns about delays.
Will the bugs survive being shipped to me?
Yes. Typical service all around Canada takes 1-2 days. And we ship our bugs in cooled styrofoam boxes with ice and gel packs to ensure that the bugs are a) not overheated and b) not moving freely around the box. Most of our products, except for our ladybugs and nematodes, should be used as soon as possible after receiving them to ensure they are getting food right away.
How long will the order take to arrive?
Shipping time depends on where you are located. We ship out on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and will sometimes make exceptions for local deliveries to ship on Thursday. However, we bring in most products to ship out on Mondays and Wednesdays. So if you order before Friday at 2:00 PST, we can ship out to you on the following Monday; if you order before Tuesday at 2:00 PST, we will ship out to you on the Wednesday (providing you are in a location that receives two-day or overnight service.)
Why is shipping so expensive?
We have to use the quickest shipping method possible because we are dealing with a live product. Unfortunately, that does mean that shipping to the east coast especially is often more expensive than we'd like, but we have no other option if the bugs are to survive the trip across Canada.
How can I pay?
We accept MasterCard, Visa (not American Express), and E-transfer.
How much does shipping cost?
Shipping cost is very dependent upon your location. You'll have to contact us directly with your postal code in order to get a quote, but the minimum cost is $21.00 plus the product cost. If you are in a rural area, we typically recommend you pick up your parcel at the closest Purolator Hold for Pickup Location to ensure that the courier driver knows where to go.
Where do you ship to?
We ship all across Canada. The only exceptions would be a place where service under 4 days is not possible. Even in that case, there may be a pickup location within driving distance you can travel to; please contact us if this is something you are worried about.
But you don't have a shopping cart?
What comes in your order?
When do you have ladybugs in stock?
In ideal conditions, we would have ladybugs year round; however, because our ladybugs are collected wild, a number of variables means this is not always the case. Often the weather is too hot, cold, dry, or humid in California, where the ladybugs are collected (or 'picked') and we experience a shortage. This happens most often in late May/mid-June in the transition from Spring to Summer crop. Keep an eye on the front page of the site where updates on our ladybug stock are posted.
How long can I store my ladybugs?
Each bag of ladybugs comes with a date stamped on the bag, ~a month from when you recieve them. We recommend putting out a portion of your ladybugs right away, storing the rest in the fridge for a couple weeks, then putting out the rest to follow up after the first application.
I have a spider mite infestation. Will ladybugs help me?
We get this question a lot - the answer? Usually not. Ladybugs are generalists, meaning they will eat a large number of different pests under various circumstances. This, however, doesn't negate the fact that ladybugs' preferred food is aphids. So if ladybugs believe they will find aphids elsewhere, they will likely move on from your spider mite infestation. If you do have spider mites, check out our page here to read up on our predatory mite recommendations for spider mite control.
I'm buying more than one of your products. Will ladybugs eat the other good bugs?
If there are pests present, no. Predatory mites are quick, and if there is easier prey, such as whichever pest you are targeting - spider mite, thrip, whitefly, aphids - the ladybugs will feed on the slow-moving pest instead. If you find that ladybugs are eating into beneficial mite populations, this is a sign that your pest numbers have become so low that the ladybugs have no other options.
How do I get my ladybugs to stick around?
We recommend that you release ladybugs at dusk when they are least active. Mist your plants and the inside of the ladybug bag before releasing them, as this will encourage them to stick around. You can also put out a dish of sugar water, apple cores, raisins - anything high in sugar will attract the ladybugs.
I'm seeing little, long, black and orange insects on my plants after I introduced ladybugs. Help!
These are likely ladybug nymphs, which love eating aphids! You can see a photo of them here, along with a photo of ladybug eggs here. This is a good sign, as it shows that the ladybugs you purchased from us are reproducing and establishing a population to fight pests.
Do you sell ladybug larvae?
No, we do not. All we sell are adult ladybugs, but in the right environment, the ladybugs will breed and lay their eggs on the plants; then the larvae hatch on your plants. Look out for ladybugs’ yellow, football shaped eggs sticking up from the leaves of your plant.
I want to create a habitat for ladybugs in my classroom/for my kids. How would I do this?
Begin with purchasing adult ladybugs directly from us. We suggest that you set up an aquarium-like habitat for them with a mesh roof. Of course, you would need to find plant material to serve as a habitat, and a food source for the ladybugs (preferably plants that are covered with aphids! If you can’t find any, try inquiring at a local nursery). A small dish of sugar water and an apple core will also help keep the ladybugs happy. Once the adult ladybugs have been released, they will lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. These eggs will then hatch into larvae and students/kids can watch the entire life cycle, which takes approximately 2-4 weeks.
Do you raise your own ladybugs at The Bug Lady?
No, we do not. There is no one who grows or raises ladybugs; instead, they are collected wild as adults from California and sent directly to us.
I’m seeing ants as well as aphids on my plants. What can I do to get rid of the ants?
In order for ladybugs to effectively control aphids, the ants must be taken care of, as ants farm aphids in order to feed on aphid-produced honeydew. We recommend that you put out ant traps before introducing any biological aphid controls. Ant traps can be purchased at your local Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or any hardware store.
Why are ladybugs currently unavailable ?
We received word from our supplier that we will not be receiving any ladybugs currently, but we are hopeful for the spring.
This is a shock to us, as this is the first time this has happened in Bob’s experience with ladybugs, which goes back to 1992. Commercial ladybugs come from California, and are collected from migrating swarms that escape the summer heat in the valley by retreating to the much cooler foothills nearby. We have had a “perfect storm” created by the combination of a prolonged drought (which is not that unusual) with the wildfires that made the news this past fall, which likely destroyed many of these hibernation sites.
Spider Mite Questions
Will ladybugs treat spider mites?
You may have heard anecdotally from other sources that ladybugs are a good spider mite control; however, ladybugs do not feed primarily on spider mites. We don’t actively recommend them for spider mite control because if there are other food sources available, they will ignore the spider mites and move on.
Stethorus beetle, one of the bugs we do advertise for spider mite control, is actually a relative of ladybugs, and is what should be recommended instead of ladybugs. They are a far more effective spider mite predator than ladybugs specifically.
What do you recommend for treating spider mite?
We recommend using a combination of three products: persimilis, fallacis, and stethorus. You can read more about those products here.
Is persimilis better to use than fallacis? What is the difference between those two beneficials?
It depends on where your crop is at, as well as how far along the infestation is.
Do I need to do anything special to my plants to prepare them for the beneficial mites?
The most particular mite that we sell is the persimilis; This mite does require a humidity of at least 60% because without it, the eggs will dry out and the second generation of mites will not survive. Fallacis and stethorus are more hardy.
As a general rule with all our products, you want to be very careful with introducing beneficial bugs if you have any sort of pesticide, soap, or essential oils history. Most (if not all) pesticides are incompatible with our bugs. If you've recently applied a commercial soap or oil product (like Neem Oil), we recommend waiting at least a week before introducing any beneficial bugs.
I can’t see any beneficial mites! Am I supposed to be able to see them?
The best way to see the mites is: Upon receiving them, pour a small amount of the mite carrier onto a white piece of paper and look for movement with the naked eye or a light magnifier. Another way to see the mites is to open the bottle and look on the rim and paper filter on the lid, where it should be easier to see them. Persimilis are a bit easier to spot on the plant themselves due to their orange-y colour.
Do you sell or recommend using Californicus?
If you want to try californicus, we can sell it to you. But, opposed to the products produced by Applied Bio-nomics, these are produced overseas and likely have been refrigerated rather than produced fresh to ship to you. As well, calfornicus will feed on persimilis mites, and therefore is not compatible with our usual recommended spider mite strategy.