Above is a sight that most gardeners never wish to see. My rose bush had an aphid infestation.
Every inch of new growth on the bush looked like this. I know there are a lot of ways to handle aphids, and I’m not just talking about chemicals (which I won’t use). A quick blast from a water hose usually does the trick. But this time I decided to wait and see what would happen if I left them alone. Would the roses still grow? Would another animal swoop in and come to my rescue? Could my little rose bush have its own mini-ecosystem?
This Western Blood Red Ladybird Beetle was a very welcome sight. Yes, it eats aphids. Just seeing it on the rose bush gave me hope.
Amazingly, a day or two after I took the photo above almost all of the aphids were gone. I didn’t see any other ladybugs, and I have a hard time believing that this one ate all of them on its own (there were hundreds of aphids). I’m sure something else gave a lot of assistance. Regardless, I’m glad I waited to let nature take its course rather than having a panic attack and resorting to cutting or spraying.
Interestingly, there are a few more obvious visitors to this same rose bush:
This larvae looks suspicious. See it? It blends well. Caterpillars generally will only eat plants, but other larvae (like ladybugs) will feast on aphids.
Here is another one that is also hard to see. Can you see it? Check out how the white stripe and the green color almost match the rose bush perfectly. These larvae are all over the bush as well, and I’ve noticed that they tend to sit still in the middle of the leaf where their stripe lines up with the leaf midrib.
Sometimes it doesn’t take much to have a wildlife garden- just one plant can provide a habitat for your own wildlife kingdom.
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