Or Where Have all the Ladybugs Gone?
Who doesn't love ladybugs? I wouldn't exactly say that I am obsessed with the little lady; I just made a quilt in her honor, bought curtains with big red lady bugs on them, styled an entire bedroom with her in mind. I have taken photos of ladybugs on nearly every plant in the garden: dill weed, sunflowers, more on sunflowers, on a tree, in the mulch in the rose garden, on a daisy petal, on a water lily. I have even written ladybug poems (very bad poems). No. I am not obsessed. I just think that they are cute, fun, awesome, amazing, curious.
There are dozens of varieties of ladybugs or lady birds or lady beetles, as entomologists will call them. Check out this website if you want to know more about them scientifically.
This is probably the only quilt that I will ever make. The Raggedy Anns and Andy like the quilt.
I blurred the photo and added a texture. I am not very good at this photo-art thing.
Check the backs of your sunflowers to see if there are clusters of aphids--one drawback to sunflowers in the garden.
A ladybug on the water lily caught me quite off guard. I keep the lilies in a horse tank, making them very assessable and easy to photograph.
Hippodamia convergen--I think.
Last fall the ugly old Russian Olive tree at the edge of the patio was covered with hundreds of ladybugs, some just hanging out, others otherwise engaged with little modesty as to whom might be watching or even taking pictures.
But this year, she has been scarce at the Garden Spot. Has it been too hot? Has there been a lack of food? Lady bugs eat aphids and even the aphids are scarce around here. I have been using a systmeic rose food that controls aphids, but I can't image that it would scare away aphids from the sunflower leaves where usually they hang out en masse. Nor were there aphids on the snowball bushes early this spring.
No aphids. No ladybugs.
Or is my answer too simple? Check out this web site: The Lost Ladybug Project. It is a really cool web site, especially for children. It explains how the ladybug population is changing. Some ladybugs are disappearing, only to show up in a new area. So they are asking visitors to photograph ladybugs that they find and upload the photo along with information about where the ladybug was found to track the ladybug population.
So wanting to do my part, I set out the other day to hunt bugs, only I couldn't find any. Not on the dill weed. Not on the daisy petal, not in the mulch in the rose bed, not on a sunflower. I have, in fact, seen only one ladybug all summer.
Lots of bees. Tons of wasps. A bazillion yellow jackets (one of which stung me on my elbow). A few dragon flies. A fair quantity of attack beetles, gobs of ants. And a few butterflies.
When I find a lady bug, I intend to take her photo and send it to the Ladybug Project so that she can be accurately accounted for.
I invite you to do the same.