Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Simple Suggestion #138... Look out for ladybugs

I was torn between two possible simple suggestions for today, but looking out for ladybugs won out over simply appreciating autumn. Chances are, you're appreciating autumn anyway, but looking out for ladybugs isn't something we human beings give much consideration.

I've been thinking about coccinellidae (who comes up with these fancy names?) since Monday, the day I planted tulips in my front yard. As I dug in the dirt, I ran into a lot of our little red friends with the black spots, and was amazed by their agility and acrobatics. One ladybird beetle (the proper name, as most of them aren't true, sap-sucking bugs) crawled up a thin dry thread of grass right to the end, and I held my breath as it dangled upside down for a moment before somehow turning back along the bottom side to safety.

The reason I've chosen this suggestion is that ladybugs (I'll stick with the familar name) are great predators who, unfortunately, often get picked up with our autumn leaves and trapped in garbage bags which go to the landfill (unless you compost -- I give free composting lessons; leave me a comment if you're interested). So, my simple suggestion: when you bag your autumn leaves this year, leave the bag sit open in your back yard for a day so that ladybugs can climb to the top and escape to eat your aphids for another year. I'm not sure how many ladybugs you'll save by doing this, but even one is worth it. A single lady bug larva can eat up to 5,000 aphids, an ability that is definitely appreciated by my perennials and me.

Of course, not all ladybugs are created equal. Last year, while picking pears, I ran into a nasty variety in our pear tree that actually bit. There are a few that can be agricultural pests, but as I don't possess the knowledge to determine who is who, I'm erring on the side of caution, and freeing the ones I can.

After all, in this world, it's up to big folks to look after little ones -- ladybugs included.

Oh, and don't forget to appreciate autumn in its glory!




P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait until lady bug season comes around again. You have given me hope for the spring.

    Eleanor

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