Posts Tagged: ladybug
What the world needs now is "love, sweet love" and...more ladybugs.
Ladybeetles are our friends. They gobble up aphids and other pests in our garden, and then look around for more. They have insatiable appetites.
Last Friday morning, as volunteers worked in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, the half-acre bee friendly garden at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, the artichoke plants stirred.
Two ladybugs were in the midst of making more ladybugs.
Yes! We need more ladybugs.
During the grand opening celebration of the haven on Sept. 11, we spotted a web-weaving spider eating a ladybug.
One ladybug gone.
But many more to come.
Volunteers interesting in tending the plants--and maybe spotting a few ladybugs, as well as honey bees, butterflies, dragonflies, sweat bees, praying mantids and a variety of other insects in the garden--can show up at the haven on Fridays at 8:30 a.m.
Melissa "Missy" Borel, program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture, UC Davis, and one of the key persons involved in the development of the garden, is coordinating the volunteers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-6642.
And oh, if you like to capture images of plant and animal life inside the garden, don't forget your camera.
Beneath a Leaf
When a ladybug landed on a gaura in our bee friendly garden, it was business as usual.
The business: eating aphids.
The rose aphids sucking the plant juices from the tender shoot didn't last long.
This is why ladybugs are known as "beneficial insects."
You gotta love those ladybugs.
Tower of Aphids
Eye to Eye
Our Artemisia, a silvery-leafed shrub bordering our bee friendly garden, looks quite orange and black these days.
It's not for lack of water or some exotic disease. It's the ladybug (aka lady beetle) population.
If you look closely, you'll see eggs, larvae and pupae and the adults. And if you look even more closely, you'll see aphids.
The predator and the prey.
Ladybug and a Pupa
It's not often you see a ladybug and a honey bee sharing the same plant.
The ladybug, a predator in disguise, devours aphids like a kid does M&Ms. The honey bee, all buzziness, works furiously to collect nectar or pollen for her hive.
Sometimes a lavender patch can bring them together.
Such was the case yesterday in our garden. A ladybug staked claim to a lavender spike, while a dozen honey bees glided in for a sweet sip of nectar.
It probably bugs her but it doesn't kill her.
An entomologist at the University of Montreal is investigating why parasitic wasps (Dinocampus coccinellae) that lay their eggs on ladybugs (Coccinella maculata) do not kill them.
Often a parasitic insect, such as a tachinid fly, kills its host.
"What is fascinating is that the ladybug is partially paralyzed by the parasite, yet it's eventually released unscathed," says biocontrol specialist and professor Jacques Brodeur. "Once liberated, the ladybug can continue to eat and reproduce as if nothing happened."
It works like this: a larva cocoons between the ladybug's legs. Once the parasite matures, it leaves the host. Brodeur hopes to understand the cycle duration, success rate and the host-parasite relationship.
Talk about hostage-taking.
"Can the ladybug refuse to be used?" he wonders. "We don't know. Our plan is to reproduce a variety of situations in the lab and see which is most favorable to reproduction."
Luck be a lady?
Frankly, we're happy that the aphid-eating ladybug, one of our favorite beneficial insects, doesn't succumb to the wasp.
We need more of them around.
Searching for More Aphids