Ladybirds are the good guys/girls in the garden. They eat aphids – up to 400 in a day.
If you don’t see ladybirds in your garden –remember, young and old, they are picky eaters. Like your child (was)? I only eat aphids. Aphids is all I eat. (Suspiciously) Is that an aphid? If it isn’t, I WON’T eat it! If you poison all the aphids, then the ladybirds will either starve to death, or go next door to your neighbour’s wildlife friendly garden. (Benign neglect will suit them too. A few aphid covered weeds?) Contain your soul in patience and put up with aphids, perhaps for a few weeks. They will only be on the roses while the stems are new and tender. As they harden up, the aphids will no longer be able to pierce them.
Baby ladybirds look like prehistoric caterpillars, with six legs, and “armour-plating”, but you can see the pattern coming.
And the teenagers make it quite clear – when I grow up I’m going to be a ladybird!
According to our insect book, the first ones to hatch, stay around and eat their unborn brothers and sisters.
Field guide to insects of
, by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving. New edition 2004. Published by Struik South Africa
So next time you see a weird caterpillar looking thing amongst the aphids. Look again. A baby ladybird! Give him or her a chance to grow up, and devour your aphids.