Well, I never intended to become a ladybug wrangler, but the everlasting Aphid War has forced my hand. 

It started with my arugula plant, and a hatchery of baby ladybugs that ravenously tore through the aphid population (thank goodness!).  I know that sounds pretty gruesome, it was, but those aphids were coating every surface of the arugula.  I could stand five feet away and watch little showers of aphids fall from the leaves.  Gross.

Last weekend, at the farmers market, I bought a cilantro start (yaaay cilantro!) and a bundle of chard.  When I started to put the chard into my bag, my friend stopped me, "There's a bug on your chard.

Indeed there was.  Or, rather, an almost-bug.  A ladybug pupa.
When I touched the pupa, it spazzed out - I could practically hear its little ladybug voice yell, "Leave me alone - can't you see I'm trying to pupate?!"

There was a second pupa attached to the other side of the chard stem, and when I got home I set the stem up on my windowsill so the ladybugs could emerge in peace.

Six days later, both pupas hatched into ladybugs.  Here's the runt next to its pupa-husk. 
The ladybugs hatched just in time, too - those damn aphids somehow found their way to my cilantro plants!  I don't know how they find me, I really don't.  But the aphids are in for some trouble, because this big guy is hungry.  After guiding it to the cilantro leaves, I watched its gory first kill - fascinated and slightly horrified as it ate a struggling aphid alive.  Yeesh.  Gardening is a brutal world!
I never asked to be a ladybug whisperer, but sometimes talent comes in unexpected forms.

Have you had much luck using ladybugs for pest control?  What else do you do to battle aphids?

You might like:
~ Windowsill Arugula: The War on Aphids
~ Windowsill Arugula
~ Sprouts! Greens for the Winter
~ Farm Internship: Drawn by the Earth

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4/30/2012 09:33:02 am

I never buy ladybugs, but if the aphids come they usually come too.

5/25/2012 07:33:20 am

I love my lady bugs ! Last year whiteflies destroyed my lettuce and aphids were there as well . Now I have a ladybug on my sunflower and another on my lettuce . You can see them diligently working all day and I have huge lettuce and a so far 6 foot tall sunflower .

8/5/2013 04:12:50 pm

These ladybugs will surely helped your plants to grow greener and healthy. They're not just a simple pest but a gift from nature we must be taking care of.

10/13/2013 01:28:12 am

Later guiding it to the cilantro decamps, I watched its gory principal croak - fascinated plus somewhat horrified as it ate a struggling aphid vibrant. Yeesh. Gardening is a ferocious mankind!

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