Mail Order Predators…


Last year I was not happy to find aphids all over my 4 rose bushes -  I tried spraying with detergent; spraying with the hose, putting vaseline on cardboard (don't ask); and finally some seaweed based poison – and still the little bugs thrived. 

This year i decided to go with the natural predator approach.  I ordered live ladybirds -  1,500 for $9.99  

On Monday the small box came to my office -  oh, no they'd tried to deliver on Saturday – of course our office was closed.   

I wondered if I might find 1,500 dead ladybirds.   But I spied movement  

Do you think anyone ever counts them to make sure they got 1,500?  

I read the instructions – ran the bag under water and then placed it in the veggie crisper until dark. 

This is one side of my little courtyard -  the intended new home for the ladybirds… 

As instructed, at dark we let them out – spreading them around the rose bushes and the peonies; 

I imagined that I was going to wake the next day and find the lady birds had moved next door – greener pastures and better bugs….   so I was thrilled to see little orange bugs amongst the leaves and buds munching on the aphids… 

I did find that some of them weren't paying as much attention to their pest control job as they should've been:


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59 responses

  1. I would've been annoyed if they'd been gone – but they are still there today too – perhaps I have enough food to keep them until those mating ones have laid their eggs. Ladybird Johnson – I don't think anyone remembers her given name. I got this etymology from Wikipedia which I didn't know until today: The name "ladybird" originated in the Middle
    Ages when the insects were known as the "beetle of Our Lady". They
    were named after The Virgin Mary, who in early
    religious paintings was often shown wearing a red cloak. The spots of
    the seven spot ladybird were said to symbolise seven joys and seven
    Common names in other European languages have the same association (the
    German name MarienkΓ€fer translates to "Marybeetle" or ladybeetle).[6]
    In the USA the name was Americanized to "ladybug".[6]Lesser-used names include ladyclock, lady cow, and lady

  2. LOL – you'd think being squished together in the packet would've given them plenty of opportunity for that sort of thing. It would be exciting if they laid eggs which then hatched and gave a whole new cycle. I read that ladybirds hatched in your garden are less likely to fly away than the first introduced ones.

  3. laughing!! hey, it is my experience that when male bellies are full and they are newly arrived at a nice location, *love* is always on their minds….. lol lol
    I could have saved you the $10.00. My Mom has almost been driven insane by the influx of ladybugs in her house. She would have gladly shared the biting little menaces.
    When I was a kid we would play with ladybugs and were told to never kill them. Then about 10 years ago, when the *gypsy moths* invaded the East Coast, the government introduced these large, biting, nasty ones from some foreign country, (to supposedly kill the gypsy moths). Well the moths are gone and the Large, biting, foreign Lady bugs prevail. Which reminds me, I need to take the shop vac upstairs and sweep up the ones that magically appeared inside my windows, bit me almost every night as I slept and then ceremonially died on the floor. (Can you tell I hate them??)

  4. LOL @ the ones getting busy the other way…
    I was going to get some of these last year because I had such a problem with aphids on my hanging baskets in the front of my house. Every year I have a prolem with them on my honeysuckle out back too, I spray them with soapy water and they die but so do the flowers & buds. Last year I don't think they were too bad. I'll see how it goes this year and I may order some still.
    Do you have a problem with aphids on your peonies too? I know ants help peonies to open up, doing whatever they are doing on them, so I hope the ladybugs aren't eating the ants.
    The ones I found were called something like Stay-at-home ladybugs.

  5. Around here we call the fake ladybugs "bitie bugs" and they get into everything and they bite, all the time pretending to be our friends! I didn't know they were intentionally introduced but it just goes to show you, we aren't as smart about nature as we think we are! — JG

  6. Thanks for the interesting story, excellent photos, and insect porn! I hope your pest problems go away now and thanks for not using poisons! If you ever want a scary story, read the warning label on rose spray! — JG

  7. That's so cool! My grandparents did that for their oak trees. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Beautiful pictures. XD Don't worry about them slacking off–that means you have more lady bugs! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  8. And next week we'll get to see photos of the birds that are all over your deck eating the brightly colored insects …Really, though, good for you for doing the 'natural' thing. I've never heard them referred to as ladybirds. And I'd be tempted to call the company and tell them that I painstakingly counted all the little buggers and only found 1456 and so wanted a refund for the missing ones … just to see what they'd say.

  9. Oooh – those biting ones sound nasty! They probably wouldn't like my aphids either. LOL@ your reasoning for the "loving" ladybirds – typical male behaviour across the species.

  10. I have a faithful point & shoot Canon camera – I love it. My information sheet says that putting them in the fridge "calms" them after their transportation. The refrigeration also slows their metabolism etc so they can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 months.

  11. Oh, those other ones are in resource management. LOLOLOLO – that's really funny. My shoulder is getting better every day – thank you for asking. I can nearly get my arm to come up in a Roman salute level with my shoulder now and can walk my fingers up the wall to about that height. But the sideways lifting is much slower to come back. I can't quite get the camera to my eye with my right hand – getting close though πŸ™‚

  12. Thank you Katiebell – my little point & shoot Canon does a pretty good job. The best thing about PT now is that I am seeing people trying to do things that I can now manage (like holding a pillow against the wall with my fist).

  13. Yeah, I got a good laugh when I saw so many occupied with something other than their primary occupation. I found it galling that those two were doing it surrounded by an audience of aphids.

  14. You are a mine of information on gardening Cranky :-). I did put the ladybugs on the peonies because of ants. Interestingly these peonies out the back get really big ants on them and the plant at the front doesn't seem to get ants at all – they are different coloured flowers but they still both flower. I think the ants are attracted to the sweet sap that comes out of the buds just before they open.I looked today and still have a few ladybirds left on the plants but the majority seem to have flown away now. Perhaps I should try the "stay at home" ones…. something I read said that you could spray them with a mix of sugar and water and it stops them being able to open their wings and fly away – it only lasts a week or so but that seems cruel!

  15. Thanks James. I am reluctant to use poison because we have such a small courtyard and grow so many peppers/chillies/tomatoes and herbs that I would be worried about doing harm to our food source. Plus, poisons kill the good bugs too.

  16. My grandparents did that for their oak trees – how cool is that! Our street has oak trees in it – I hope they don't have bugs of any kind because (sadly) I doubt our council would go to the bother of releasing ladybirds on them.

  17. Thank you GOF – I like how that photo has ants in the background. Those peonies are going to be gorgeous when they bloom. I have a little automatic Canon point & shoot camera which has a macro setting on it – the hardest thing to do is hold the camera steady; it does the rest.

  18. Expect another sort of bird, the stork, to arrive in 4-7 weeks. I read that ladybirds can lay up to 1,000 eggs in her lifetime and they can hatch in 5 days if it is nice and warm – it's been 90 degrees this w/end – I should be out there now searching for larvae. LOL.

  19. Thank you DoctorD – I hope they work. It is such a shame to see the beautiful roses marred by aphids – many blooms not opening or curled and deformed.

  20. Wow Apolline – thank you for the useful information! We put our coffee grinds under the azalea bushes at the front of the house – perhaps we need to share them with the roses. I do have a lavender bush in the back but it is only one lonely plant and it is still very small. πŸ™‚ Thank you for the link – very useful.

  21. And next week we'll get to see photos of the birds that are all over your deck eating the brightly colored insects … LOL It would be a brave bird to enter our neighbourhood! I'm pretty sure that someone, sometime, counted all the bugs to make sure as that's just the nature of some people. I suppose at sometime the place counted out 1,500 and figured out what size scoop they would need for their sales (I bet an intern got that job!).

  22. maybe that's what makes it hit 1,500. hehe LOL – and I read that they lay their eggs near aphids so that there is a food supply for the babies when the eggs hatch. I'd send you some but I know they'd be snatched by customs there. LOL.

  23. Thank you re the photos Amy Sue – it was nice having a selection of ladybirds to photograph. I think the price will be a bargain if they are successful at getting rid of the aphids. πŸ™‚

  24. in a bag looked pretty creepy to me. LOL – yes, they did look creepy crawling around in the shadows of the box. When I got them out of the box and ran the little cellophane bag under water I thought I'd killed them. They did look cuter when we started putting them on the leaves.

  25. aphids were an aphrodisiac?!? LOL – who'd have thought. They was certainly a lot of loving going on amongst the lady birds. I have seen a few aphids but nothing like there were – I have noticed a huge difference in the roses. Last year they were all shriveled, dried out and full of brown spots. This year I have quite lovely looking blooms.

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