Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ladybug Assault

The aphid invasion was met with a water spray blitzkrieg followed by a swift ladybug assault, Phase I and Phase II.

Phase I used multiple landings on each artichoke plant with negligible impact. Although I hope aphid morale was hit hard, damage to enemy camp was minimal.

Phase II rolled out two nights later and focused on one location...the artichoke masthead with the greatest aphid occupation. I gracelessly dumped the entire container of ladybug troops late night on one plant in hopes of retiring early, but the lack of over planning worked. The next morning the artichoke was blanketed with ladybirds sucking down aphids. What an awesome site...Aphid Guernica.

But the troops proved unreliable and fled later in the day. Despite their capriciousness, I may launch another late night lady bug drop to follow up to Phase I and II.


  1. You'd think they'd want to lie around resting after that glut!

    They're probably programmed to go looking elsewhere right away...too bad they don't colonize!

  2. My comment never showed up on your last aphid post... I wanted to add that when ants are so avidly farming, I've also had good luck with wrapping masking tape, sticky side out, around the stem so the ants can't cross. You need to remove it before the plants grow much, of course.

  3. We have a community gardening website here in Tucson. They suggest dumping the ladybugs on your plant and then covering it with an old sheet or cheesecloth for a few days to convince them to stay. Your plants are pretty big, might have to go the sheet route because cheesecloth squares aren't that big.

  4. My fingers are crossed that the Lady Bugs have only retreated in order to regroup before launching a devastating counter attack against those awful aphids!

  5. What great advice. A sheet draped over the plant is brilliant.

    Djuna, tape is a great idea. I think I'll give it a try.

    Thanks, Christian. I do so hope the troops have more heart and carry on.

  6. Even a trash bag, taped over the plant or some of it's limbs could keep in the ladybugs.
    Clear plastic trash bags will allow you to see them work.

    As for sticky stuff to prevent ants, you could get a can of spray adhesive, and treat the stems of the plants. That way you don't have to worry about tape hindering the growth of the plant. The ants will get stuck in the glue trap stem.

  7. I had the exact same problem two years ago with my artichoke plant. They all left. What I did last year was to actualise a pre-emptive plan. First I planted flowers the lady bugs would like. Look up insectiary plants. Then once the flowers were blooming I went to my nearest nursery and bought me some ladies... Flashing forward a while later, I started becoming alarmed at the amount of lady bugs (and their larva) in the garden. This year I have the same plan, except I will try to keep flowers around longer and see what else I can attract.


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