Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Bugs That Eat Bad Bugs

A couple weeks ago I noticed that a few of my romaine lettuces were looking a little yellow. On closer inspection I could see that they were under attack by aphids. The aphids have been worse than usual this year, I think because we haven't had much rain to wash them off of the plants. When I got home I mixed up a bottle of my recently purchased neem oil to spray on them at my next visit. Neem oil is an organic insecticide/fungicide/bad-stuff-icide that has been highly recommended by other gardeners I trust, but this was my first time using it due to the fact that I'm cheap and it's not.

Then, as I was bent over trying to squirt the darned stuff under the low-lying romaine leaves, I saw an even better reason to stop spraying: ladybug larvae. At the time I couldn't even remember their name, but I knew them as friends. Good bugs, as Mercer Mayer would tell us - because they eat aphids. I found two on the lettuce and one on my asparagus (also under aphid attack), enjoying a nice little picnic.

Supposedly neem is not toxic to ladybug beetles themselves, but I'm not so sure about the larvae. Here's hoping I didn't kill them, because I sure doubt I managed to spray all the aphids. (Note: The image above was blatantly stolen from Chikblog.)


  1. Yea ladybugs!! one for our team. Our school garden is under attack as well , some larvae on the squash and the beans. Tomorrow I'm spraying with dilute generic baby shampoo!!

  2. Oh, interesting, I haven't heard of that before. Let me know how it works - I have baby shampoo!