Friday, June 09, 2006

Ladybugs Invade City!

Farmer hopes to control aphids


Calgary gardeners shouldn't panic if they find themselves seeing spots -- more than one-million ladybugs are about to be released into city yards.

The six-legged invasion is the brainchild of Ryan Stewart, a tree farmer sick of seeing aphids munching on his leaves, but loathe to use chemicals to kill the pests.

Instead, Stewart turned to the aphid's natural enemy, the ladybug, and started selling the spotted insects to gardeners looking to bite back at back yard pests.

"Aphids were rampant last year, and that's when I thought of ladybugs," said Stewart.

"There are a lot of chemicals out there already, and I didn't want to add to it."

Sold in lots of 5,000 for $44.95, Stewart's first live shipment arrived from B.C. this week, for distribution to nearly 200 homes.

That adds up to six-million legs marching through flower beds, but Stewart, who sells through, said the species is native, so no ecological harm will result.

City of Calgary pest control expert Simon Wilkins applauded the plan as a natural solution to an annoying problem, as long as the bugs are native.

"It sounds like a great idea, as long as ladybugs are a native species," said Wilkins.

"They are beneficial to the environment, and we'd like like to see more -- anything we can do to get native insects in the city is a good thing."

To order ladybugs, contact:

Stewarts Ladybugs

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