20,000 lady beetles move to Wicker Park gardens

Date: 
06/28/2012
LadyBeetles

Lady beetles released on a tree

On Sunday June 24 at 1:30 p.m., Erik Grossnickle of Bartlett Tree Experts released 20,000 ladybugs from air vented packages, with the assistance of a large crowd of parents and children in Wicker Park. 

Ladybugs which are also called ladybirds, God’s cow, ladyclock, lady cow and lady fly, ladybugs are not really true bugs. They are beetles of the Coccinellidae (derived from coccineus meaning scarlet) family of beetles.

TreeSpraying

Erik Grossnickle mixes solution for spraying

SprayingTree

Grossnickle sprays tree

Before they were released in the park near the Charles Wicker sculpture, two trees were sprayed with sugar water. Grossnickle warned  that if you use commercial sodas, they should not contain caffeine.

After giving a talk on the history and beneficial characteristics of lady beetles. Grossnickle removed the packs from a cooler chest, giving them to children and adults who were directed to take their packs to the sugar coated trees.

BeetleBagDisplayed

Grossnickle shows the beetle bag

They were instructed to place the opening of the bag on the trees where the beetles walked out of the bag and began moving on the trees. (The cool pack environment induced a less active state for the beetles.) Later, all the beetles flew to the 10,000 sq. feet of gardens in the park.

KidsOpnBeetleBag

Opening the beetle bag

Lady beetles are considered "beneficial insects" in that they are beneficial at controlling other insects without the use of pesticides. They consume aphids that destroy many ornamental and food plants. One lady beetle can eat as many as 50 aphids per day. 

When purchasing and releasing lady beetles and other beneficial insects, you must FIRST consult the suggested timetables that gives release times for each of the beneficial insects that can be used in our region. These timetables are based on the average dates that their target prey appears in the environment. The insects must be released when their prey is present to be effective.

The event was coordinated by Beth Sholtis, from the WPB (SSA#33) and WPB Chamber of Commerce, and Erik Grossnickle as was part of the Green Music Festival. Grossnickle is a member of the WPB (SSA#33) Clean, Green, and Safe Committee.

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