Ladybugs for Natural Aphid Control

Ladybugs are pure gold in the garden, preying voraciously on aphid pests.


| May/June 1972



Lady Beetle on Leaf

Lady beetles love to hunt for their favorite food: aphids!


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/MICHAEL TIECK

Home gardeners in the Rocky Mountains receive plenty of encouragement to use chemicals. In one recent Denver-area newspaper alone, I counted no less than ten recommendations for insecticides, fungicides, pesticides and sterilant sprays! In addition, the only suggestion our local money-hungry nursery retailers would hand us when our giant black walnut tree out front became infested with aphids was," ... spray 'em!" Little wonder my husband and I fell prey to the old "chemical spray is the only way" cliche.

In desperation, since we didn't want to lose our valuable nut tree, we finally called a chemical application company and asked them to come and rescue the black walnut. Mere toddlers in ecological thinking that we were at the time, we requested that a "soft" insecticide be used.

The tree was sprayed with Malathion, which we were assured was completely "safe" and would break down within 20 days. I now realize the spray company probably meant that Malathion was safe ... if you and all your animals wore gas masks. The day after the application my cat was sick and I looked like a combination case of measles and chicken pox. Both problems were immediately diagnosed as allergic reactions to the insecticide.

Disgusted, we added the cost of a doctor and a veterinarian to the $15.00 we had paid for the spraying (for a total cost of $35.00) ... and a week later, when a violent rainstorm washed the Malathion off the tree, the aphids were back.

Our black walnut really suffered that summer and so did we. We felt sick every time we looked at the tree. Day by day its branches became droopier and more bare as the ravenous aphids sucked their way through its leaves. We didn't know what to do . . . but we were sure we wouldn't spray again.

Just as we were about to admit defeat, we heard of a live-ladybugs-by-mail business in California. Well, anyone who ever watched insects as a child knows the ladybug is a predator (aphids top their gourmet list) ... and here was a place where we could buy all we needed!

slumdunk
5/26/2014 1:58:47 PM

i heard that the longwood garden uses ladybugs. we are planning a tour to visit it. if you want to join, click on this link http://www.tripedition.com/East-Coast/New-York-City/2-Day-Amish-Farm-Longwood-Gardens-and-Hershey-Park-Bus-Tour-from-New-York-City.html






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