Sunday, May 9, 2010

Aphids Gobbled Up and All Gone!

For several years we've been seeing the aphids gobbled up within a week's time.  How does it all come out just at the right timing?  Amazing!  I get so excited it about it every time I see it.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Ladybug Larvae on Anthony Waterer Spirea Eating Aphids

We have three huge spirea bushes (Anthony Waterer) and they get covered with aphids just as they're spreading their branches to produce the buds for flowers.  That's around the end of April for us.

Since we don't use chemicals in our yard, we have ladybugs that happily hang out here and produce lots of ladybug larvae.  Those larvae have a ferocious appetite for aphids, as do the adults.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - Ladybug Larvae Size Comparison

I wonder if our ladybugs know where the best source of aphids are each year and that's where they lay their eggs for their babies to grow.  One of the many things I ponder.

Most people don't realize what ladybug larvae look like.  You may be killing it thinking it's a 'bad bug'.  There are so many good bugs to have in the garden that save you time and money, so take the time to get a photo and an ID.  Your local county extension office is generally happy to help you identify your garden bugs.

Online you can do a search for "identify bug" and get some great sites to help out with tons of photos to scan through ... or with a forum that you could submit a photo to for an ID.

Larvae don't eat as many aphids as adults do, but since they comes in great numbers, they do a great job of removing the aphids.

The larvae are much smaller than they look in photos.  At their largest size they are less than 1/2" long.  Their lifespan is from one to three years depending on what your source is.

© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - ©Adult 7-spotted Ladybug Eating Black Aphids on Honey Locust Tree

An adult ladybug will lay from 20 to 1000 eggs in Spring and Summer.  It only takes 3-5 days for the babies to hatch and begin eating.  A ladybug can eat up to 5000 aphids in 4-6 weeks.

Working with nature is so exciting!  I love seeing God's creatures doing some of our gardening for us.  Some how it feels so very right!

See the photos and information on the Life Cycle of a Ladybug.

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2010 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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