Ladybugs!

I went to the Country Store today to ask a question about ladybug breeders. Jennifer, the owner’s daughter/longtime Country Store employee/handyman/one-woman extension service, rummaged around in the back and came up with a leftover tub of ladybugs from last year that had the supplier’s contact information on it. She told me I could take the tub with me.

A lot of the ladybugs had died, but much to our surprise, dozens of them were still alive and well and puttering around the tub. It’s hard to photograph ladybugs inside a sealed tub (and harder to photograph them if you open the tub, ‘cos they’ll all fly away), but you get the idea here:

Bugs' home

Ladybugs

More ladybugs

I also picked up a packet of Early Girl tomato seeds to use in my Gatorade-bottle terrarium project. I know it’s too early to start seeds, but I simply can’t wait any more … I am too eager to get a head start on summer! Besides, if they outgrow their containers, I can always transfer them to bigger containers … or transplant them a few weeks early, protected by a Wall-O-Water or something. That’s assuming, of course, that I can find Wall-O-Waters around here. All the stores sold out of them really fast last year.

Incidentally, if you are ever in town, the Country Store is one of the coolest things on Route 66 in Tulsa. Before we moved here, Ron and I used to stop by there every time we were in town and buy stuff. We bought a hand tool there that we use to trim weeds, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many kinds of seeds, flower bulbs, plants and other goodies I’ve bought there. The water hyacinth we put in the pond last year came from the Country Store. So did the beautiful little strawberry plant in a hanging planter, which I suspended from the pergola last summer.

They do free soil tests — which we are going to have done this spring before we plant anything in the garden — and if you ask them a question, they almost always know the answer … and if they don’t know, it’s a safe bet they know somebody who *does*.

The best time to go is in the spring, when they get the chicks and ducklings in. Eeeeeeeeeeeee! They are sooooooo cute and fuzzy. They just peep their little heads off. Ron doesn’t let me go there unsupervised in the spring. He is afraid I will come home with a duckling. But I don’t think Bill, the owner, would sell me one anyway. He knows we don’t really have a good place to raise it here.

Too bad. I want a duckling.

Emily

2 thoughts on “Ladybugs!”

  1. I really like LadyBugs. Two houses ago I lived on a small 5 acre parcel out in the countryside in Lancaster, SC. Every year we would have a huge set of Lady Bugs that would visit our house, inside and outside. I always had to transport all of the ones that got trapped in the house back outside so they could do their beneficial work. In my current house I live only about 30 miles away but we are never visited by a horde of LadyBugs and I really miss that time of year.

  2. Ladybugs are too cute. Voracious, too.

    We’re also fond of lacewings. We bought lacewings a few years ago to control the aphids that had reduced our eggplants’ leaves to transparent sheets of delicate lace. Ron sprinkled lacewing larvae all over the eggplants. They came. They saw. They kicked some aphid butt. And we wound up with a bumper crop of eggplant. I never thought I’d be crazy about maggots, but I can’t say enough good things about baby lacewings.

    Ladybug larvae are great for that, too. I think I’m going to use some of each this year … and maybe some praying mantises, too.

    I will never forget the shock in my mother’s voice the year I called her up and told her how excited I was about my ladybugs and lacewings and honeybees. I spent my entire childhood shrieking and fleeing in mortal terror from one bug or another, and here I was, shucking out the better end of $200 in a single season, to buy … bugs!

    Of course, what blew everybody’s mind was when I stood in the back yard, staring at my peppermint patch in utter fascination. Ron came outside and asked what I was looking at, and I said, “I had no idea there were so many different types of wasps! Look at them! They’re gorgeous!”

    This from the girl whose ankle once swelled to twice its normal size after a random attack by a marauding wasp. But I defy anybody to look at one of those black wasps that turn iridescent blue in the sunshine and tell me it’s not the most gorgeous creature you’ve ever seen.

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