“perhaps you notice a congregation of ladybugs on a rose stalk.
Don’t invoke the old nursery saying and ask them to fly away home.
Their house is not on fire. Your roses are, with aphids,
which the ladybugs are feeding on – and you can
bless yourself that they have come to your rescue.”
– Eleanor Perenyi
IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
He likes to point out that as gardeners/farmers, we need to learn to take a step back and “let nature be.”
Case in point:
Always, there is a period of time when you are tempted to get rid of every aphid in sight. Aphids are not a plant’s friend—in fact, they can really damage a plant in a matter of days! Ladybugs are the cavalry that ride to the rescue. But, a gardener must be willing to sacrifice some plants and let the aphids alone so that the ladybugs are supplied with rations? Destroy the aphids and the ladybugs will desert.
As you grow along with your garden, you begin to gain a different perspective. Although it looks unkempt and even downright ugly, we let some aphid-riddled plants remain in the garden. Why? Although it may look like the black plague, those plants are harboring a powerful secret—a stealth weapon that will turn on the aphids.
Beneficial Buffer Zone
Amidst the tens of thousands of oozing little bugs is the perfect nursery for ladybugs to lay their eggs. When the larvae emerge by the hundreds, they feast on the aphids, developing into adult beetles that continue to consume a diet of aphids.
Last week, Justin was about to go in and “tidy up” along one of the fence line because the aphids had gone wild and were taking over the pumpkins (their leaves were looking rather pathetic) Just as he was about cut down the old withering pumpkin leaves he spotted hundred of so baby ladybugs!
We will just let the sap-sucked pumpkin leaves be this season’s ladybug habitat sanctuary or “beneficial buffer zone” until the lil’ ladybugs fly away… not too far, hopefully! I think they rather like it here and we like having them here on the homestead.
Moral of the story:
Before you go all Rambo on aphids, take a step backwards and let nature be.