Lady Beetle Lessons

Last Sunday, May 20, Sunnylands Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California had “Ladies Day“, a day devoted to Lady Beetles. The day featured arts, crafts, stories and science education all related to Lady Beetles. The event included the release of 200,000 Lady Beetles. The Gardens have released an estimated 1 million Lady Beetles since March of this year.

Lady Beetles Feeding on Tree Sap

My initial thought was, “Bad news if you are an aphid”. Lady Beetles will eat aphids and other small insect prey. Local (augmentative) releases can temporarily reduce the population of aphids and other small insects to low levels. Gardeners might like Lady Beetles to patrol their plants to eliminate all aphid intruders. However, if aphids are not very abundant, Lady Beetles must disperse or starve. Gardens must sustain a healthy aphid population to sustain a healthy Lady Beetle population. For a longer term effect on aphid populations, Lady Beetle populations need to establish and reproduce in balance with aphid populations, or the population must be continually augmented and Lady Beetles released periodically.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lady Beetle Lessons

  1. CultFit says:

    Great post and thank you! I’m sure you are very aware of the struggles facing our little friends and if you don’t mind I would like to share this link with you:
    http://www.lostladybug.org/index.php
    Some good friends are working on this project and getting the word out is critical to its success.

    Have a great weekend!

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