Cry havoc and let slip the ladybugs of war

Originally published at: Cry havoc and let slip the ladybugs of war | Boing Boing

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More ladybugs!

image

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That “ladybug motel” looks to me like it will attract mason bees. They’re great pollinators, don’t sting, and are generally highly beneficial to have around. Some people keep houses for them. Others say that’s just attracting disease for them and to leave them alone. Dunno, myself. But! The houses all look like the one you linked to.

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Looks like they had themselves a picnic.

Loved this one as a kid.

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I like ladybirds. But I wouldn’t eat a whole bag.

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Look for ants too. They farm the aphids, so you if you see ants, you might need to do something about them too to get rid of the aphids. The ant/aphid combo ruined my peaches last year but NOT THIS YEAR!

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I use a version of this on aphids, on my citrus, timed to spray just at sundown or thereafter (never in the sun!):

Ingredients

  • One gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoons of concentrated, cold-pressed neem oil
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap OR 1 teaspoon pre-wetted silica powder, explained below
  • Optional: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon aloe vera powder (recommended for cannabis plants) and/or a few drops of essential oils
  • Scale all ingredients up or down evenly as needed

My version uses Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap, neem oil, and hot water (needed to mix everything well together). Shake a lot, let cool to “blood warm” and them spray the undersides, topsides, stems, flowers, every aerial part of the plant.

Then spray all the other citrus so that the aphids don’t merely migrate to an unsprayed plant. Feel free to separate infected plants from the herd to make that migration less convenient.

You may want to hold up on any high N-number (nitrogen) N-P-K fertilizer for a bit, until the aphids are back under control. Aphids love rapid, new, tender growth.

Still my fav citrus fertilizer, and OMRI-listed:

https://www.espoma.com/product/citrus-tone/

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I’ve had this happen! I get aphids from time to time (they like the strangest mix of plants), but only once did I see them being actively farmed. It wasn’t great for the broccoli they murdered, but it was really interesting to see the ants working among them.

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Beat me to it. I think of this one whenever I encounter ladybugs.

ladybug GIF

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our household’s joke is that there are only about a dozen bags of those ladybugs in existence, and they are trained like homing pigeons to fly back to the store once the bag is opened. at least, when we bought a bag and opened them on our roses, they all just took off and flew away, at least.

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Friends were staying in a place in Shenzhen that had a small roach problem - these sorts of problems can be solved in China - just go to Tao Bao and order a box of geckos …

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She swallowed a spider to catch the fly…

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Here are some ladybug photos I took in the backyard with a macro lens. Voracious little things. I’ve found the best way to get them to stay around is to water the garden before releasing them. They’re very thirsty.

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I get aphids on my abutilon plants most summers and am able to kill them and keep them off with four or five sprays of soap and water.

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It would make a lot more sense if they sold bags of ladybird larvae, like that one in your third photo. Equally voracious, no wings yet.

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Isn’t Shenzhen tropical? If it doesn’t get cold, what are you going to do with the apes?

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Very wise, they taste disgusting.

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