If you're having aphid problem in your garden? I may
have a ‘buggy’ but simple solution for you. It’s called
Ladybugs have quite a history that goes
back more than 600 years to England when they were called
‘Ladybirds’ or ‘Marybeetles’. The lady they were
originally named for was the Virgin Mary. As time passed
many more types of ladybugs were discovered. In the
United States the name ladybird changed to ladybug even
though (Click to Enlarge)
Photo: Joani MacCubbin
‘technically’....they are beetles. But since the ladybug
was probably the first bug we ever knew about as
kids......we'll continue with the name.....‘ladybug’.
There are 6,000 species of ladybugs and 98 of them
live here in Florida. They are an interesting little
bug.....first of all they can live 2 to 3 years and if
threatened they can play dead. And....an adult can reflex
bleed from its leg joints and the resulting blood, which
is yellow, has a repulsive smell which is a toxic
substance and a very good defense against its predators.
This same toxin is also found in the ladybug’s egg and
through its immature stage. Some feel that a ladybug's
coloring is also a warning to predators that they are
Most Ladybugs can very beneficial to us
gardeners. Some of those 98 different species that live
here in Florida feed on types of fungal growths on plant
leaves.....some prefer a meal of mites, some like to dine
on whiteflies others on cottony cushion scale or possibly
mealy bugs or aphids. So you can easily see why it would
be nice to have a few of them around your yard.
There are probably more ladybugs in your yard than you
even realize but if you feel a few more will be
better......you can actually buy them locally. They can be
purchased online or from various garden catalogs. But they
may not be the ones that will do well here in Florida.
So.....call around to a few of your local, independent
garden centers near you. They might sell them or know
someone who does. In the Orlando area, Lukas Nursery sells
them 1500 for $9.95. Now that’s a pretty good deal to me.
It might also be a fun thing to do with your kids or grand
kids. Maybe you can tell them about ladybugs or read them
a story about them and then release them. Possibly a nice
thing to do to celebrate a gardener's birthday. But
just remember......ladybugs do have wings.....which means
that they can fly.... you know.......like out of your yard
and possibly into your next door neighbor's yard or maybe
even across the street.