LadybeetleYou can lead a ladybug to an aphid-covered Rose of Sharon bush but you can’t make her eat.

Or stay.

Well, I guess I can’t complain.* Truth is, we host lots of ladybugs in our no-spray, critter-friendly, all-a-bug-can-eat-smorgasbord-style backyard. But they’re not in the right places! Okay, not the places I want them to be.

For example, the “girls” are all over this one peach tree which, amazingly enough, still has peaches.** Last week as we spent hours draping the fledgling fruit with poultry fencing, deer fencing and any other kind of varmint fencing we had handy, I noticed a ton of bugs along the branches. The good bugs: Coccinelladae of the order coleoptera, commonly called “lady bugs”. Not only that, these ladies were–how shall I put it?– having a good time. Yup, there were dozens and dozens of lady bugs and gentleman bugs and maybe even baby bugs but NOT ONE APHID.

What the bugs!

Had they eaten them all? Were they even there to begin with? Do the ladybird/beetles/bugs realize that a bitty bit away on our sad Honeycrisp treelet, the aphids had established a beachhead? (All too close to the finally-flowering peas, I might add!) Then there’s the aforementioned Rose of Sharon, which boasted (if that’s the right word) a BAZILLION aphids.

Give or take a zillion.

While it’s true I’ve seen one or two of the ladies on that besieged bush, it’s clear they were outmatched. Or stuffed. Or just resting between courses. I read somewhere that one beneficial insect can eat scores of less beneficial insects in short order but even at that rate, I would still need an army of lady bugs to merely handle this one wretched ornamental. Guess there’s only one thing to do.

Call in the cavalry! And make it snappy!!!




*That won’t stop me, of course.

**Last year we started with a jillion, ended with none.



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Copyright 2014, Lori Fontanes