Since this is the first year that our apricot bushes have fruited, making sure they’re well protected is top priority. I did some research to figure out which pests we were likely to be up against, and learned that aphids are one of the biggest threats. Knowing that ladybugs have a voracious appetite for aphids, I decided it was time for us to finally build that ladybug house that’s been sitting on my to-do list for ages.
We already have a good ladybug population in our yard, but by building them a house, we hope to encourage them to overwinter in our yard, so they’ll be ready to go to work for us as soon as the warm weather arrives each spring. And since we’ll be placing our new ladybug house next to our apricot bushes, that should mean our bushes will be well protected from aphids all season long.
Ladybugs also eat mites, white flies and scale, so we may just have to build another one for our vegetable garden.
Want to build your own ladybug house? Here’s how we made ours:
Circular saw or hand saw
Scrap wood (we used a piece of barnwood that we rescued from a curb pile)
What You Do:
Cut the side panels.
Measure a piece of wood to 7-15/16″ high x 3-15/16″ wide. Then measure down 2-13/16″ from the top of one of the 7-15/16-inch sides, and make a mark. Draw a sloping line up from this mark to the top corner of the opposite 7-15/16-inch side. You will end up with a line that slopes at 30 degrees – the slope of the roof. Cut along the sloping line, and repeat the process for the second side panel.
Cut the back panel.
Measure and cut a piece of wood to 5-1/2″ x 7-15/16″. Bevel one of the 5-1/2-inch sides at 30 degrees to accommodate the sloping roof.
Cut the bottom panel.
You want a piece that measures 2-15/16″ x 5-1/2″
Cut the front panel.
Measure and cut a piece of wood to 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″. Bevel one of the 4-1/4-inch sides at 30 degrees to match the slope of the roof panel.
Cut the roof panel.
Measure and cut a piece of wood to 5-3/4″ x 9″. Bevel the back edge (one of the nine-inch sides) at 30 degrees.
Here are all of the pieces that you should now have.
Lay everything out, and test the fit before proceeding.
Nail the side panels to the back panel with six nails – three per side. Pre-drill these holes and all the holes in the next steps to avoid splitting.
Nail the bottom panel to the side panels with four nails – two per side.
Center the front panel in the opening, and attach with two nails per side. This will create a gap at the top and bottom of the house, to serve as the entrances and ventilation.
Attach the roof panel with four screws, so that the roof can be removed for seasonal cleaning. Then, hang your ladybug house in your garden, and wait for ladybugs to move in next fall.
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