Ladybugs to the rescue!

We are committed at the farm to never use chemicals, never ever!  In fact, we are working on getting certified organic and are officially a “farm in transition” at PCO (Pennsylvania Certified Organic), but more on that in a later post.

Anyway… when the top leaves of our cherry trees started to curl last week I took a few off and looked at them.

There was a bit of black dirt under each one.  I put on my reading glasses and didn’t see anything different.  I then used a magnifying glass and each was a very small black bug crawling around.  A quick internet search told me they were black aphids (green aphids tend to attack the plum trees).

So after more searching, I found out Ladybugs love aphids.  So we ordered 4,500 online from Orcon (Organic Control Inc.) and put them in this week.

So how do you put them in?

Well, they arrived when Eve’s parents were here and her 90-year-old dad Elden kept asking when they would arrive and how they were packaged.  So when they arrived by U.S. Mail on a lovely warm, sunny morning I showed them to him and asked him if he would like to put them on our cherry trees.  He readily agreed.  We walked out and he poured them by the handfuls on the trees.

He then asked me to read to him what it says on the package.  So I did, telling him:

“Ladybugs prefer to eat aphids and will devour up to 50 a day, but they will also attack scale, mealy bugs, leafhopper, caterpillar eggs, and other soft-bodied pests. They dine only on insects and do not harm vegetation in any way.”

I then read that we should put them in the fridge when they arrive to slow them down and put them on the trees in the evenings so they settle in and don’t fly away!

Ooooops!  Fortunately, that was only 1/3 of them and the following evening I did it correctly.

Farm Trivia for the day:     Do you know what a baby lady bug looks like?   The container says our ladies will lay eggs in a few days and out will hatch this alligator looking baby lady bug.  In about 2 weeks they become adult ladybugs.  IMG_9641

Here is a little video of our lovely ladies in their shipping container.

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