Posts Tagged ‘ladybird’

Mobile gum

February 1, 2016 Leave a comment
Black beetle with red spots

Black beetle with red spots

This tiny ladybird-like beetle must have woken in the sun today.

It truly was a glorious day – warm, soft breeze, birds singing. The year is on the up!

I was pruning a cherry tree when I spotted what I thought was a bead of gum – except that it moved.

I fetched my camera with close-up lens and chased the surprisingly nifty beetle round and round the twig and the spurs, always missing my shot.

When I downloaded the photos, I didn’t notice it at first. But then there it was – unexpected – the best portrait of the lot!


Slow food

May 3, 2013 Leave a comment
'Slow food' in action

The ladybird at work

Passing by a rose bush, I noticed that some of the buds had white fly on them.

A squirt in time saves nine, I thought, so I fetched the insecticide.

As I stood there with the canister poised,  a ladybird caught my eye on one of the buds.

As far as I could see, it was eating the white fly. In other words, doing the job for me.

It was mighty slow about it, though. As dusk fell it was still on the same bud; in fact still on the same side of the same bud.

Well, they say eating slowly is good for you – I hope it enjoyed its meal!

A ladybird wakes from hibernation

March 27, 2013 Leave a comment
A ladybird in the axle of a clematis twig

A ladybird emerging

This ladybird had a good spot to hibernate in, tucked in the axle of a clematis stem.

It was just stirring sleepily when I saw it.

It will have felt the warmth of the sun, like the fat flower buds around it which will open soon.

Another bite of the persimmon

November 25, 2012 6 comments

The persimmons for sale in the fruit and veg shop yesterday were of 2 sorts: apple persimmons which I believe are the sort I once tried eating and found too gelatinous, and vanilla persimmons which resemble the ones on our little tree.

Cut persimmon with resident ladybird

The information on the internet about vanilla persimmons is very complimentary: their flavour is sweet and delicate, and their consistency is crunchy.

A vanilla persimmon doesn’t need to be gooey to be ripe.

I was inspired to try tasting one again, so I picked one from our tree and cut a slice off.

It’s a beautiful colour inside, and a very attractive firm, smooth texture.

Then I nibbled a tiny bit off the slice. It was so astringent as to be quite inedible.

It would seem that our persimmons are primarily ornamental.

The ladybird that had hitched a ride kept walking round and round the cut rim, so I took it outside and put it on a rosebush.

Scale insects

March 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Today I rescued a ladybird from the indoor swimming pool and, in order to give it the opportunity to show its gratitude, I put it on the little grapefruit tree which grows in a tub beside the pool.

The grapefruit tree grew from a pip, and considering that it shares its tub with a cactus, it’s doing quite well. However some of its leaves are coated in a sticky substance which then attracts a black mold.

I looked on the internet about it and I’m pretty certain that it’s the secretion of scale insects, which hide on stems masquerading as part of the tree while meantime sucking its sap.

Ladybird on the grapefruit tree. Notice the black mold.

Ladybirds eat scale insects, along with other unlovely things like aphids which can also cause stickiness, so my friend should have been in for a treat. It crawled about the grapefruit tree a bit but then it disappeared. I reckon it’s shirking!

If I can’t get ladybirds to help me, I’ll have to resort to some kind of insecticide, but I have to be careful because whatever it is will kill ladybirds as well.

I did find one alternative on the internet – a targeted home-made insect spray of nicotine. I have to soak 30 cigarette ends in 4 litres of water for a week (after removing the filters). It kills mealy bugs as well as scale insects.

All I have to do is engage a couple of Italian workmen for a day or 2 to provide the butts.