Now that I have that out of the way I must tell you that somehow ladybugs have gone close to the forefront of my every day life for about two weeks. I realize that's one of the craziest things I could post about but ya know, it's the absolute truth. A couple of weeks ago one of my dandiest lil friends sent me a txt and said "can you do this?" along with a pic of a ladybug hat. I tend to get a few "can you do this" messages from time to time. :) I love ladybugs and the hat idea is adorable so very very soon I shall be making a hat for her granddaughter's first birthday.
Just about the same time we were preparing to come back home after being in Zachary, Louisiana for the summer. Legs, Lil Bit and I were packing and getting the plants prepared for the 12ish hour journey home. One of our pepper plants had become infested with worms and aphids. We'd bought this plant at the Farmers Market and it already had one large pepper and a small one growing. It produced one other pepper after that. About the time the third pepper started, all of a sudden (honestly) it was attacked by buggies. I had been using a soapy solution to keep the other one clean of aphids and that one as well. I'd kept every single worm killed off. After two days the Market pepper plant was dried up, dead and covered with aphids. That one wasn't going to make the journey.
We brought home the mini pepper plant we'd grown from seeds. We have yet to have a single pepper out of it but I sure do like to think we'll have one eventually. :p Once we got home, it rained on all the plants. I had to leave them outside and within a couple of days they, too, had aphids. I was preparing the soapy solution when I saw ants all over the plant also. hm. I asked awesome hubby and he said the ants actually live on the juices the aphids produce and in trade the ants offer a sort of protection. The best thing to do was to get rid of the aphids. While we could spray it down again, there was another alternative. Ladybugs love dining on aphids. :)
Awesome hubby purchased 1500 ladybugs and a small ladybug house and had them shipped here ASAP. The ladybugs arrived after a couple of days. The house got to our local post office from Mississippi, then oddly enough before it was delivered was shipped to Atlanta, who shipped it back to Mississippi somewhere and back to Nashville and here. :\
Either way the house arrived today so here's my Diary of the Ladybugs:
The house itself is made from fresh wood (or it's been lightly rubbed with something green like fresh grass) with a thin piece of metal on the roof. The latch is simply made and it has only some side air / escape vents for the little guys. On the back is a hole for hanging up on a house or post.
As you see, the door opens downward with two hinges on the bottom. We have a rental house, however, so attaching it to the house is not an option. I can attach it to the deck but that puts it by the front door. While I don't mind the little guys watching a little tv with me, I think they'll be most beneficial outside so I chose to hang them on the bird feeder hooks. Small problem. No way to do that. The hole isn't large enough and if it were, it still would have trouble fitting properly over the hook. So I came up with a fix for that with the chain I have from the now defunct bird bath. I used only two pieces of the three I had, used a thumb tack to poke a small hole on either side and two small closed hooks from a photo hanging kit we've had for ages.
So far, my only regret is not moving them more toward the front because where they sit on the pole, it could tilt forward (a bit top heavy) and flip over. Being that I centered them on the side it makes it more unstable. I may move the chain forward to act more as a counter balance when it leans against the pole.
The finished product, ready for ladybugs in the evening :
Yep, going to just cut a spot and pour them in, says I. I took two of the leaves that had aphids on it and put them inside. I don't know if that will keep them there but it sure seems like a start. It was about this time that I realized I needed to cut the bag open a bit more or I'd be there all night. After opening it larger it seems as though they came out much faster but once they all started flying around...you guessed it, I moved my hand and poked myself in the eye.
Immediately after, Legs apologized. He said "oh no mom, I think I took a pic of you when you did that." :p He's a good kid but I agree with awesome hubby that it's pretty good comic relief that I'm a dillhole and jabbed myself in the eye. Luckily my eyeball itself is fine, it's the rest of my face that hurts. lol
Last but not least, the pepper plant with our darling lil ladybugs.