Spring has DEFINITELY arrived! In fact, it came early this year with warm weather beginning in February and barely a winter at all. The downside of it all is that bugs thrived in the mild winter and started reproducing like crazy.
You know how I love to decorate my tables and plates with flowers, accent my food with fresh herbs, and incorporate fresh-picked vegetables into my meals. Imagine my horror when I discovered the garden had been hit with an aphid infestation! I had a trick up my sleeve, however. It was nearly time for my annual ladybug release. I simply had to expedite the timetable a bit.
Besides being cute as bugs (oh, yeah, they ARE bugs), ladybugs are beneficial in the yard because they eat aphids. Lots of aphids. So much better than dousing everything with chemicals. Plus, the ladybug release is a yearly ritual around our house. I look forward to connecting with nature and seeing the colorful little creatures roam around in the flowers and plants.
It is important to keep the ladybugs hydrated until the time for release. Don’t keep them packaged up for more than just a few days. In past years, we have briefly placed them in the refrigerator prior to release. The cold makes them lethargic, which means that they don’t move as fast when you sprinkle them around the outdoors. That’s a good thing when you’re trying to snap some pictures. We have some lovely macro shots from prior years. I’m hoping to get a few more when I release the remainder of the ladybugs tonight.
Webmaster Patricia questioned my choice of attire for this expedition when she was cropping the pictures, but letting loose ladybugs is a “come as you are” activity, and this was what I happened to have on for the day.
My mother says that when she was very young, her father would catch ladybugs and delicately place them on her hand or arm to walk around. Many decades later, seeing a ladybug will invoke happy memories of that sweet gesture.
Timing is important, too. We have been told that the proper time to let them out is at dusk. Do it earlier and they simply fly away. I’m happy to help populate the neighborhood, but I need some of those suckers to slurp aphids in my yard before they move on, so dusk it is!
We hedged our bets and let them loose a few at a time over a period of several days.
Since variety is the spice of life, we let some loose near vegetables, others around flowers. Who knows where they might find some delicious munchies?
Many garden centers stock ladybugs this time of year. If all else fails, you can find them at Amazon.com, as I did! Thinking about all the beautiful herbs, flowers and vegetables that will travel from our garden to our table makes me happy it’s spring.
Have a beautiful April!