Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ladybugs, Welcome!

And while we're on the subject of insects, let's talk about the beautiful Ladybug -- another blessing from the insect world.  It's considered good luck if the little Ladybug (in New England they're orange with black polka dots) lands on your person. When we were little, we would have to chant the following nursery rhyme before we blew the Ladybug off:  Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly away home.  Your house is on fire, Your children are gone.  We always felt sad that the beautiful Ladybug had such a sorrowful situation to return to, though I don't think we ever really believed the nursery rhyme.

Ladybugs eat aphids, so folks with gardens and orchards (such as we were) welcomed the presence of the beautiful tiny orange beetle with black polka dots. According to the National Geographic, "Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed. By the end of its three-to-six-week life, a ladybug may eat some 5,000 aphids."

That may help us understand why, in a society that was once agrarian,  a Ladybug's landing is always considered good luck.

1 comment:

  1. i remember growing up with the orchard, vegetable garden and 3 bee hives. i remember how that experience heightened one's awareness of the beauty of bugs and bees. i also remember how there were certain bugs and certain bees which we considered invaders, like potato bugs and japanese beetles and the hated yellow jacket. they were all deadly. the first two were deadly to our orchard and we were paid ten cents for every hundred we harvested off our trees. we deposited the captured bugs and deposited them in small mason jars, to be counted, roughly so, by the uncle or dad who had established the bounty. talk about low lying fruit! Cabbage Weeds sprouted ingloriously from our back yard soil and a bounty was placed on them, Dead or Alive, ten cents for one hundred. if there was one thing we mastered as urchins was how to count to one hundred.
    the yellow jackets attacked when ever we were cooking shish kebab in the back yard during the weekly summer sunday feasts. there was a yellow jacket colony that had the impertinence to take up residence beneath our front porch, just above the driveway. armed with two cans of DDT i made war against them and vanquished them. my mother rewarded me with thanksgiving and smiles, as the yellow jackets would attack those arriving and departing from our front door. it was one of those moments of adolescence, where, like Alexander, i was given a troop of calvary to command at the age of sixteen. i served the king well, as the enemy was routed, and the safety of the queen mother was restored.