Thursday, April 11, 2013

What any sustainable farmer loves to see

Ladybugs are everywhere in my artichoke patch. They come out  like white knights every spring to keep the bug populations in check. And they don't need an invitation, either. They're my favorite party crashers, right up there with the praying mantis. They're not omnipotent, that is, they don't get every single bad bug on the farm, but the numbers of good bugs increases yearly and I hope they are bringing a better balance into my farm's ecological equation. In the larger photo we see a very welcome site to any organic gardener: procreation of even more ladybugs!! The newbies will have plenty of work to do: Soon the tomatoes will be in the ground  and the new crop of beautiful beetles can migrate over to them to patrol for white flies and the like. I wish ladybugs were big enough to gobble up the the stink bugs and cucumber beetles that attack my crops, but only the mighty mantis has the size to make a meal of them. Speaking of eating ... it's time for lunch!

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