Aphids vs. Ladybugs

Do you know where one should *not* find ladybugs?  In the fridge.  In a cardboard box, next to the milk.

This was probably BK’s first insight into my particular brand of crazy (although I prefer “eccentric”).  We were newly dating and when he saw the lady bugs in the fridge, his eyes got really big.  How could he not have known at that point what he was getting into here?  My growing a jungle on our deck should not have been a surprise…it was really the logical next step.

But the ladybugs were necessary because I hate aphids.  Ladybugs eat aphids, like you ab-so-lute-ly would not believe.  And while this year, I have had the random luck of ladybugs coming to live in my jungle, I have not always been so fortunate.

One year I let the aphid situation on the condo balcony get out of control.  They were all over the pepper plants.  Spraying with soapy water wasn’t enough, even pesticide wasn’t enough.  So I went to my old pal, Google, and Google told me that ladybugs eat aphids.  And even more shocking, that you can purchase ladybugs.

What?!?!  Did I just say that?  Purchase ladybugs?

Yes, yes I did.  So I ordered myself 1,500 ladybugs.  For a 6 x 20 foot balcony.  That was the smallest number available.  I put them in the fridge to sleep for 10 days while the pesticide wore off the pepper plants.

I released the ladybugs at night so they didn’t fly away and then watched the horror through the sliding glass door.  And horror it was.  The biology major in me loved it.  It was like War of the Worlds.  The aphids were climbing over themselves, chaining down the pepper leaves to get away from the ladybugs, who ate the crap out of them in a very un-ladylike way.  And the aphids were gone, gone from my garden, in two days.  One of the most amazing things ever.

So, crazy I may be, but we had garden-fresh peppers that year, didn’t we, BK?  Why yes we did, my love, yes we did.

Incidentally, this spray has sometimes killed and prevented aphids for me as well, and has no negative effect on the plants or veggies like soapy water or pesticides.  Not sure why it only works sometimes, but you should spray it on when the plants are little and keep spraying for a while.  Place a small, sliced onion and a tablespoon of minced garlic in an empty 1-gallon milk jug.  Fill the container with hot water, then let it sit for 24 hours.  Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and mist the new growth.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] morning glories, even the seemingly indestructible marigolds.  They make the blasted aphids look like choir boys.  If you’ve read “The $64 Tomato,” one of my favorite […]

    Reply

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