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Garden Living Blog

Garden Living Blog

Suzanne Cammerano is a freelance landscape designer with 15 years of varied experience in horticulture. She has been a professional gardener for Somerset County Parks Commission as well as private clients, a volunteer for a nonprofit community gardens program in Trenton, a designer?s assistant, and has worked in landscape sales/design/build for local nurseries. This blog takes a light and friendly approach to gardening, with a focus on helping local readers identify and find great plants and accessories, public gardens and garden events, and improve their landscapes with timely tips and hints.
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Most recent posting below. See other blog postings in the column to the right.

Ladybug Invasion: What's Up With That?

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Have you noticed a “second coming” of last fall’s ladybug infestation? What you are most likely seeing is the spring awakening of the Asian Lady Beetle, which swarmed light-colored houses last fall in search of a warm winter getaway. Now that warmer weather has arrived, they are trying to get back outside.

The Asian Lady Beetle was released by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in surrounding states, including Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania in the 1970’s and 80’s to help control aphid infestations in trees. While our native ladybugs also eat aphids, the Asian species is far more gluttonous (adults can eat up to 270 aphids per day, while larvae can eat up to 1,200 during their development). 

Ladybugs are harmless to humans, and are in fact a useful ally in the garden. But if you find them annoying as they hitch a ride into your fridge, dishwasher, drinking glass, etc. – I know I do – consider gently sweeping them up in a dustpan and releasing them outdoors where they can swallow up all the aphids on your spireas and sedums. Vacuum them up if you must (the recommended method of disposal if you don’t feel your karma is at stake), and they won’t leave ugly brown marks on surfaces, which can happen with rough treatment.
 
If you’re wondering why ladybug swarms have been more prevalent in the past couple of years, it is thought that their numbers are tied to an abundance of food the previous summer. This being the case, I would guess that their large numbers will increase food competition in successive years, which would naturally control their population going forward.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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