Sunday, April 10, 2005

Release the Ladybugs!

While I am enjoying my fresh, organically grown lettuce, it is a bit of a bugger, since I am having to rinse the leaves 4 and 5 times to get all the aphids off. I'm sure we're still consuming some aphids, but I have to at least get all the visible ones off.

Today we all 4 took a bike ride to a local nursery and bought 1500 live ladybugs for $5. As Anna can tell you, they can eat as many as 50 aphids in one day! The nursery recommended refrigerating them (to induce fake hibernation) and releasing them at dusk. Anna checked the "sleeping" bugs several times during the day, and greatly anticipated the promised release of the beetles after dinner.

Moments after leaving the winter of the frigidaire, those little bugs were swarming to get out. It was recommended to release at dusk because they don't fly at night, and you want them to stay on your aphid-infested plants to eat, or better yet, lay their eggs so the larvae can chow down, too. Spraying them with sugar-water also hampers their departure, since the stickiness clogs their wings. Here's Anna enthusiastically spraying away, getting her Daddy's hands all sticky!

Colin said, "Bugs .... out! Hi, bugs." Most of the time we were placing them on the plants, though, he was busy getting into the mud. Oh well, almost bath time. Here, he waters Anna's garden with a leaky pot.

At the end of the evening, we had lots of ladybugs swarming our plants. Only a few took flight. I hope they didn't go down by the chickens.

Buon Appetito!

1 comment:

Emily said...

Very cool. I don't like the idea of eating aphids, though. That sounds gross. I know what you'd say, though, it's just extra protein! Why is it that most bugs are repulsive, but ladybugs aren't?