Saturday, August 2, 2008

Where's the Lady Bugs?

Where are the lady bugs when you need them? Read this next paragraph in a condescending, almost baby talk inner voice.

Oooohhhh, lady bugs, they're so cute, they're so orange, they have little black spots, they eat aphids, they're gooood.

I noticed that my wife's Persian Shields in the big pots on the front porch had a little aphid problem started. Not bad, just the start of one. Not to worry, the pest patrol would be out as the evening faded toward dark. Lady bugs? No, not lady bugs. I've hardly seen a lady bug this year. [More condescending tone inner voice here.] It's too hot for cute little lady bugs. This would be the ugly, long legged, not cute, scour the garden at night kind of pest patrol, Grand Daddy Long Legs.

You see them in their clustered masses under the edges of the porch or roof during the heat of the day. What are they doing there? Waiting. Yes waiting, waiting for dark when the hunting is good.

I didn't realize how valuable they were until I started spending time in my gardens at night. It all started with watching the Sphinx moths flitting around the Daturas. Kind of like night time hummers if you will. I started looking around in my gardens more at night. And what did I find? Grand Daddy Long Legs scouring the garden looking for little bugs to eat. They were literally every where, through the beans, up the corn and on the tomatoes. But they were also on the ornamental as well. That is when I realized what a true resource I had and I've got lots of them. Unfortunately, the Leopard frogs eat some of them. But it seems I've got plenty so they can have some. I know I've got a whole lot more of them than the cute little lady bugs.

Oh, and the Persian Shields, I checked the next day and there was nary an aphid to be found.


Annie in Austin said...

How fascinating, Bob - you've taught me something new. There are few ladybugs here this summer and I haven't seen daddy long legs, Grand or otherwise, Maybe they're hiding somewhere. What I do see are those small green garden spiders lying in wait on larger-leaved tall perennials.

Even in this drought we have mosquitoes - if I go out to look around tonight it will be with bug spray applied ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Bob said...

Those spiders know where to look, dont they Annie. They get right in the bloom.

Unknown said...

I need that pest patrol in my garden!!! Send 'em over.

Helen Ruth said...

I didn't know this! ((I'll never look at a Granddaddy Long Leg the same again))

I see a lot of these Grandaddies while cave exploring -- thousands clustered together in heaps.

I've seen quite a few Ladybugs here at my house. In fact, I was online just last night researching how to raise my own ladybug farm (for my daughter's 4-H project.)

Now I'm curious what's going on in MY GARDEN at night... (Almost afraid to look!)