Ladybugs! I have been seeing them EVERYWHERE when I am at work. They seem to be particularly fond of the thistles. You can find upwards of 20 just on one plant. And while I have been seeing large numbers of them at work, My backyard has become an aphid hangout. Which is just not fun, for anyone who goes out there – including the dogs.
I mean, look at one of my Zucchini flowers:
Please ignore the sorry state of the leaves, I am pulling it later this week, and have stopped watering.
SIDE NOTE: After much google-ing about ladybugs, I have discovered that the “creepy bugs” above, that were all over our turnip and carrot greens, are actually Ladybug Pupa. They instantly became less creepy when I found that out, and I am happy to have them around.
To help with my aphid situation, I decided to round up a bunch of lady bugs from work, and bring them back home to feast on the aphids. I had a jam jar and a old empty bottle of ice tea in my car, so I set about collecting some while we were out cleaning paddocks one day. I probably collected about 50+. And have plans to nab a few more next week, in case this bunch doesn’t stick around.
As soon as I got home, I set them free on my zucchini plant, and this little guy, captured an aphid right away… And I captured the moment with my iPhone (thus the blurry-ness)
I am planing on making some ladybug houses later this month, and to set up a few areas for these beneficial insects to hibernate. I will also plant a few more late-summer and early fall flowering plants, because apparently ladybugs also need pollen to thrive. I may let some Alfalfa move into the back part of the yard, since it has pretty purple flowers, and as a legume, adds nitrogen to to the soil. So I can help my soil, have pretty flowers, and attract lady bugs. And it would be free, because I could just dig up a mature plant from the Alfalfa field at work.
Hopefully, these beneficial insects decide to stick around for the winter, and then next year, we can end this aphid situation all together.