In China, ladybugs are a sign of good luck.

On Saturday, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens invited Lowcountry families to help release more than 70,000 ladybugs in the gardens.

The insects were set free throughout the 60-acre gardens in the morning. Chris Smith, zoo curator and Nature Center director at Magnolia, said the event was a way to bring families together and educate them about the insects, which had been ordered from an insect farm.

Mount Pleasant residents Travis and Jessica Carpenter brought their three children to the gardens. They recently adopted a 2-year-old girl named Meili Joy from China and have two sons, Austin and Justus. The Carpenters are part of a community of families adopting from China, so releasing the ladybugs symbolized good luck for them, Jessica Carpenter said.

Smith said ladybugs are natural predators to harmful insects such as aphids and other small insects that may eat away at plants.

“They’re natural pesticides,” Smith said.

The night before the release the ladybugs were held in a cool place so they were less active when they were released.

“This way, they won’t just fly away quickly,” Smith said. “They will take to their surroundings a lot easier.”

Joelynne Cramer, of North Charleston, and her two daughters Phoenix and Caylee Cramer, have a thing for ladybugs, too. They have decorations throughout their home depicting the friendly creatures.

“I came here today because I want to teach my five-year-old to have respect for nature,” Joelynne Cramer said.

Smith said the first-time event was a huge success, despite spots of rain, and they will likely do it again.