Operation: Ladybug

August 13, 2010

For some reason, aphids love yard-long beans. No, I don’t know why. All I know is that my yard-long beans are covered with ’em. Yuk. A massive aphid-and-ant invasion. Guess the compost pile was no longer enough for the ants ….

If that weren’t enough, the quantity of honeydew the aphids are secreting is attracting gnats and flies. Eww. Something needed to be done.

So yesterday I went to Walter Andersen and got myself a tub of ladybugs, ’cause ladybugs eat aphids. (I first tried this at Home Depot and got laughed at by the woman in the garden department. Mrrrrr. ):< ) I followed all the directions very carefully — keep them in a cool place (but not in the fridge), release them at dusk, and mist the area before you release them so they have water to drink.

I’m pleased to say that many of them seem to have stayed and are chowing down on my aphids. There are even still largish clusters of them here and there. I will probably mist again to make sure they get enough water, because we don’t have any free water in the yard. (I really need a shallow fountain for bees and birds and ladybugs … ) I also spotted some ladybug larvae, which I’m thinking probably came from the ladybugs I saw in the yard ’round about last Sunday.

So here’s hoping that the natural predators do their job. (: Go ladybugs!

4 Responses to “Operation: Ladybug”

  1. Go ladybugs! I used to buy a tub of them every year but they seem to all fly away after a week or so. Every year I swear I won’t buy more but every year I do (including this year) because they are so fun for the kids.

    This year, however, I had such an aphid problem that they didn’t stick around but they did lay eggs all over the place. I’ve watched at least 3 generations of bugs hatching this summer and followed them from egg to midge to lady beetle which has been so fun!

    Here’s hoping they take care of your aphid problem for you. They didn’t take care of mine initially but now that it’s 2 month’s later the aphids finally seem to be in check. Of course after I took out parts of all of some plants that were destroyed. But I’m hoping the word got out to the aphids that we don’t want their kind around here anymore…

  2. Right now, they are eating voraciously. I went and got a second batch because the first batch did well, but just wasn’t enough.

    Many of them have stuck around and I’ve seen a bunch of ladybug larvae, so I’m hoping the problem will be under control soon enough. Meanwhile, those yard-long beans are requiring quite a lot of cleaning once they’re big enough. {:

  3. Someone at my CSA pickup was talking about ladybugs, and apparently that’s a common problem. The farmer said he deliberately plants extra of certain crops because only the adults eat aphids, so he plants the extras to give the earlier stages food, so they’ll stick around.

  4. Really? I was given to understand that the larvae actually eat more aphids than the adults. I wonder what else your farmer plants? *looks curious*

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