Moving to the country brought an element with it I would never have guessed. Each Spring opens a door to something new outdoors. Our first year we found out everything we wanted to know and then some about grasshoppers. We were plagued by them! I now understand a bit better about a locust-like plague. They ate absolutely everything that was green. They even ate things people told me they didn't like. I guess because everything else was gone, they had to eat something.
Since then we've had the year of the fire ant, wolf spider, butterfly, praying mantis and the flea. Every season we get the opportunity to experience the full gamut of what makes each of them tick. Some years have been great fun and you wish that they would stay. Yet others have been closer to wars. We've fought fire ants and fleas that were everywhere and had the bites and stings to prove it.
What for Spring 2011? I think it will be the beautiful lady beetle aka ladybug. We've never had so many! I've seen them from juvenile to adult. This has me very curious as to why this year? I'm thankful they've decided to spend their 2011 summer here. We need them.
I don't treat my yard or gardens with pesticides so this may be a factor in why they've taken up residence. I love it when I see the good insects get a chance to thrive. Its just plain encouraging.
Why do I love Ladybugs so much? Lady beetles eat aphids! Last year I battled aphids, so I guess word got around in the lady beetle community that my yard was the place to be. Its a good thing too. Buying packaged lady beetles is a waste of money. Most of them fly away as soon as you get them. I was encouraged to see the juvenile form of the lady beetle out near my blackberry bushes, so I know that they're breeding here. Hopefully that will continue because I need all of the help I can get!
|Life Cycle of the Lady Beetle|
** image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
There are several different types of lady-beetles, so you need to do your homework to better identify what you have. The first insects that come to mind for me are the Mexican Bean Beetle and the Squash Beetle. They feed on your plants instead of your aphids. ---not good!