Stories tagged ladybugs

Jun
24
2008

Helping release the ladybugs.
Helping release the ladybugs.Courtesy Me
This past Sunday I released 1500 ladybugs in my backyard with my wife and daughter. It was awesome. I had gone to the local garden center to get some more praying mantis egg cases as I was pretty sure the ones I had put out earlier this spring had died as we had a couple of very late frosts. But, while I was in there they had this bag of ladybugs, and what can I say? They are cool bugs – I couldn’t resist.

Ladybugs are helpful because they eat other insects that are damaging to gardens or crops. In fact, the Mall of America here locally releases thousands of ladybugs in the amusement park to control insect pests. Don’t confuse them with Asian Beetles – ladybugs are a native insect.

The praying mantis is not native to Minnesota, but they are okay to release as they won’t survive the winter. I put out three egg cases earlier this spring with no luck almost two months later, so I bought two more cases as I am reasonably sure it won’t get below freezing again for some time. They are also beneficial as they eat other bugs (but interestingly, not ladybugs). Each egg case could release up to 200 mantises…the potential is there for 1000 mantises. Sweet.

My neighbors are viewing my releases a little skeptically, but I can’t wait to see the mantises and to show them to my daughter, who is not squeamish at all with bugs. She was quite helpful with the ladybugs and thought the whole thing to be quite fun, even when they were crawling all over her arms.

If you are interested in releasing ladybugs or praying mantises in your backyard, there are lots of internet sites that sell them, but also be sure to check your local garden center too.

Oct
21
2007

Cleaning up: A ladybug has its eyes on an aphid that it could likely snarf up and eat. A company called Planet Natural is providing ladybugs as a natural alternative to insecticides in getting rid of insect pests. (Flickr photo by teece)
Cleaning up: A ladybug has its eyes on an aphid that it could likely snarf up and eat. A company called Planet Natural is providing ladybugs as a natural alternative to insecticides in getting rid of insect pests. (Flickr photo by teece)
Just yesterday when I arrived home, there were a ton of ladybugs all over the front door. Little did I know they might be hanging around for more than the scenery.

A New York City apartment complex has turned to the little critters to tackle a big clean-up project on the 80-acre complex. It’s shipped in nearly three-quarters of a million ladybugs to eat other bugs that are destroying the ornamental landscaping features of the property.

The bugs come from Montana and have a big hunger for aphids and mites, insects that live and devour plants and flowers. The building complex owner is trying this natural solution to the problem in lieu of using chemical insecticides.

The natural method also helps to keep “the good guys,” other non-destructive bugs, around while chemical applications kill pretty much all of the insects in the area.

The apartment complex purchased the lady bugs from a business called Planet Natural. You can get a box of 2,000 ladybugs for $16.50.

On average, each ladybug can clear an area measuring about 19 inches square, eating about 50 nuisance bugs a day plus any eggs they may have also laid in the area. The commercial cleaners are also a different strain of ladybug than the Asian ladybugs that have become a common, swarming presence in urban areas.