24 May 2010

ladybugs, menbugs.

several months ago, i conjured up hopes of writing about ladybugs, in gratitude of their peculiar late winter behavior. 

 ( all the visual compliments seen below 
are scenes from the office portion 
of the barn at my place of work. )

i researched very lightly about this topic but absorbed in only a few brain-swigs just how fascinating these polka-dotted types are.

with its title omitted, below are the bulk of lines to a poem i wrote a week or two before the season could claim march as its  month. 

in need of a good excuse to build up the bones of a poem (or something language-filled,  puffed with speech) during those blustery days, i took away some speaking-in-lines inspiration from my brevity-made education on the miniature legged ladies and gents.


around noon, he asks me if i know
anything about the winter nesting

habits of ladybugs. he suspects
that my brain is a search engine

about nature—about small creatures
that swarm in gardens in the warmer

months, but he notices their proclivity
for hiding near icy-feeling windowsills

in late february. i tell him that they
survive on their own body fat during

chilled times but that they will likely
dehydrate and spill as a quiet

and unmoving graveyard on cold-painted
wood before the heat of spring breaks

into song through dirty panes of glass.
i tell him not to shoo them away

because when frightened, they expel
their yellow-hued blood, which can

stain the walls they walk on, if the walls
are light-colored. the ladybugs, those

who are alive by march and april, will
dig or fly their way outdoors when

the confusion of this snow-stomped
season melts into only rain and scents

of new growth. 



much of the referencing work in the poem is from the ladybug lady, which i found to be a charming web-made resource.

an unfortunate but still visually curious eye-scoop is that of any ladybug graveyard. 

the information posted to the ladybug lady site made sense of so many factors behind the late winter tendencies of the wee ones.

back in the summer of 2008, i wrote a series on vendors at the local farmers market for the boyertown area times. i suddenly recalled the farmers of oley valley organics noting that they use ladybugs as beneficial insects to fight off the crop devestation of aspargus beetles. 

the original story introducing oley valley organics to the community's readers is still available here.

i soon contacted barb and mike dietrich to ask them for more insight about ladybugs in the role of beneficial insects with organic farming. 

barb responded with wonderfully helpful knowledge, first offering a bit of her own flavor to the concept of ladybugs harboring indoors each year.

"as a side note, we have always had ladybugs in our house even during the winter," dietrich said. "i enjoy seeing a few in the cold of winter-- to me, it means spring is just around the corner."

"i was told that the older generations think this is good luck,"dietrich added.

in terms of pestering away pesky critters in farm production, dietrich and her husband are happy to send ladybugs to their crops' rescue. 

"ladybug eggs are small, white,  and laid in clusters," dietrich conveyed, "probably about the size of  a pencil eraser."

they seem to favor laying their eggs in the dietrich's strawberry patch,  as nature would have it.

a few weeks ago, the dietrich family released 35,000 ladybugs to help battle the devastation possible by asparagus beetles. the masses of ladybugs, when tightly fit together, only took up the space of a half gallon container.

in a previous instance, the family released 75,000 ladybugs across the expanse of their two-acre field.

"the ladybugs did a great job, but once their food source was gone, a lot of them moved on to search for food elsewhere," dietrich said. "we were fortunate to find some of them in our other crops as well."

"we also saw lots of ladybug eggs on the farm, which was good to combat the next round of beetles and other non-beneficial  bugs," dietrich explained.


a few weeks ago, i noticed a lone ladybug perched on a pink petal in my garden, nibbling on an aphid among an overwhelmingly depressing amount of the damaging insects which were merrily devouring my goldflame honeysuckle. oh how i cheered the lone ladybug onward, bite by bite ! 

dietrich in response suggested spraying a soapy mixture onto the plant to help discourage the aphids. i still need to attack that task ! but my admiration for ladybugs' chomping skills have skyrocketed since my recent stint of education on the helpful not to mention eye-sweet, rotund creatures.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! great photos! New blog on the Hx. of the Ladybug: http://historyoftheladybug.blogspot.com/