Many people enjoy watching ladybirds or “lady bugs” as they are commonly called in English. They admire them for their beautiful colors, but what many don’t know is that some species of ladybug can eat other insects!
Some types of ladybugs even feed on harmful crawling insect larvae such as gnat and fungus gnats. This behavior was first described by Thomas Hill in his book The Natural History of London in 1836. He referred to these little meat-eating beetles as wolf spiders because of how they hunt their prey.
These gnat and fungus eating ladybugs are not actually spiders at all; instead, they belong to the beetle family. People have given them this name due to a resemblance to spider webs which contain small spiders.
It has been proven that certain North American native ladybird species will consume various kinds of gnats. However, it is not known if any European (or non-native) ladybirds are capable of feeding on fungal gnats.
History of fungus gnats
As mentioned before, there are two main types of insects that feed on plant roots – sap–feeding phloem feeding aphids as well as root sucking herbivorous plants like worms or snails.
But another type of insect is an important part of the ecosystem we use plants for food production. These are called heterogonous (or mix-feeder) insects which eat both other insects and fungi!
These include ladybirds, lacewings, hoverflies, parasitic wasps and tachinid flies, among others. Some even go so far as to taste and prefer either meaty bacteria or fungal cells!
Many of these predators ingest not only their own kind but also various microbial organisms they come across during their hunts.
Do ladybugs eat fungus gnats?
Many people keep a watchful eye out for ladybug sightings during spring to see if they can be found eating large amounts of pesky fungus gnat or mosquito larvae. Unfortunately, most do not work as well as hoped!
Theoretically yes, ladybugs will feed on other types of insect larvae, but it is very rare to find one doing so in nature. They probably learned this behavior from eating meat where they were exposed to similar-looking insects as those they would encounter outside!
If you happen to witness a ladybug feeding on another type of larva, try to capture it so that you can observe its actions more closely. Also, make sure to confirm that what it was feeding on was indeed an immature insect by checking under a microscope.
Ways to get rid of fungus gnats
Many people begin trying to eliminate these pests in their homes when they notice them around their plants. Unfortunately, many wrong strategies are used to try to get rid of them!
Some of the products that contain pyrethrum or rotenone can be harmful for your health if you are exposed to too much of it. Pyrethrums can cause skin irritation and long term exposure has been linked to eye damage as well.
Using a spray made of pepper or baking soda is usually not effective because the fungi will just move away to another area of the plant. Using a vacuum device to suck up all of the insects may actually spread some of the chemicals beyond the intended area. Simply wiping the plants with paper towels may also only make the situation worse by spreading more dust which could have additional pesticides contained within it.
Instead of trying expensive solutions that do little to no work, there are several easy ways to prevent this pest from coming back. Avoid using alcohol based cleaners or sprays to clean your plants, instead use plain soap and water. Make sure to wash all parts of the plant, including the roots!
Never pull an insect off of a plant using force, even if you think it’s attached onto the plant. The suction needed to remove it will often hurt or break its shell, allowing it to remain in your plant. If necessary, use a clip or needle to pry it off gently.
When should I get rid of fungus gnats?
If you notice an increase in insect population, especially around your plants, then it’s time to do some research.
In this case, the culprit is the fungus gnat. These little critters love to feed off of yeast and bacterial growth. Because they are such small insects, people often miss them when looking for signs that there may be too many bug babies hanging out.
When they come into close contact with your plant tissues, they can both cause major damage to your pot plant or even pose a risk to your health. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent these from occurring.
Removing infected plants is always the best solution but if you must re-pot, make sure to only use fresh soil and pots. Avoid using old, dried up soils as well! This will help keep the roots healthy and airy so they don’t become waterlogged like they would in an older pot.
If you find lots of fungus gnats on one specific plant, try moving the plant to see if this removes their presence. Also, invest in some lysine powder to apply onto your plants to help reduce potential pest issues.
Are there any bad effects of fungus gnat bites?
Many people have heard rumors about how ladybug larvae can eat other insects, including fungal gnats. However, this isn’t true!
Many people believe that when ladybirds hatch, they immediately start eating other small insects like aphids or grasshoppers. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case.
Ladybird nymphs usually don’t eat anything until they are fully developed adults. When they do mature, though, they won’t consume any prey bigger than their own body size.
Are there any natural ways to get rid of fungus gnats?
Many people believe that eating certain foods can help eliminate or at least reduce the number of fungus gnats in your home. These include adding them to your diet and/or using their recipes in cleaning products.
Some theories suggest that when ladybirds are in large numbers, they may eat some fungi such as mushroom spores so look out for them!
However, not all fungi are bad and even few species of ladybird will only ingest parasitic wasps or other insects. Therefore, trying to attract lots of ladybirds is usually not an effective way to prevent pests.
There are several non-toxic alternatives you can use to remove fungus from homes and skin. Some of these have been shown to be more successful than others. As such, it is best to do a cost-benefit analysis before investing in one.
General rules about consuming food is that if you are very health conscious then add some new things into your diets every now and again. However, going too far beyond this could potentially harm you so pick something just hard enough to meet that level of wellness.
Are there any good natural remedies for fungus gnat bites?
Luckily, there are some easy ways to prevent ladybug orgnanisms from occurring. First, make sure your plants are not dry! If needed, apply gentle water using a soft cloth or sprayer.
Another way to prevent ladybirds of predation is by growing foliage-free flowers like sunflowers or marigolds. These types of flowers do not require much moisture, making it less likely that would attract hungry insects.
If you notice signs of insect damage, try applying a layer of clear nail polish over the area. Let this dry completely before covering the affected plant with soil. This may help protect the plant from being rehydrated due will go away once the nails have dried.
What should I use to get rid of fungus gnats?
Many people add ladybug larvae to their gardens as an insect predator. They claim that these little critters help reduce pest numbers, including those pesky aphids!
However, does adding ladybirds to your garden prevent other harmful insects from thriving?
Some experts believe that while ladybird beetles are helpful in reducing pests such as aphids, they also eat other non-aphid bugs, such as spider mites. By eating these other insects, ladybirds may be creating an environment rich in spiders which can cause allergic reactions for some people.
This could therefore pose health problems for people who are sensitive to spiders. Some studies have even linked eating too many ladybirds to skin rashes or stomach upset.
So, although starting a ladybug population is a great way to contribute to sustainability, it is important to do so with caution.