The answer is more than 1000.
I released the ladybugs into my containers over the span of a couple weeks. They set up camp, ate, fell in love, had babies…it was all very kumbayah. After a week or so, I noticed that the aphids were back. Not on all of the plants, just the broccoli, banana peppers, and tomato. No matter where I put the ladybugs, they seem to find their way to the same plants - habaneros, jalapenos, and eggplant. So much for diversifying.
After watching the aphids feast on every single banana pepper flower bud, Kory (my hero) found a vegetable safe insect spray made of soap and soy. This one slaughtered. I spent the past couple days, checking and spraying every leaf and the balcony is now nearly aphid free. There are so many positives to this spray…it kills aphids, is ladybug safe, and smells nice…although I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be smelling insecticide.