ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Magnificent Ladybug & Her Astounding Contribution

Updated on January 25, 2015

The Worth of a Ladybug

What makes this tiny, colorful beetle so valuable? Even though I did not really understand what ladybugs did to contribute so enormously in their unseen world that was very tiny and invisible to the eye of most humans, I was taught at a very young age that the ladybug was on an important mission. And that I must never kill a ladybug but always do whatever I could to protect them. In fact, I was taught their mission was so necessary that farmers, like my grandpa, even purchased these bugs with good, ol hard-earned cash!

Why, you may ask, is such a tiny insect so necessary? Well, it all eventually made sense to me as I got older that ladybugs are born with a great purpose and without them doing their part, much of the earths necessary, vital vegetation would just dry up and crumble away.

Ladybugs begin their existence munching and as they do, they clean our environment of unwanted pests in a natural, poison-free way. Ladybugs are even indirectly responsible for providing milk and meat, which we enjoy regularly as part of our diet. This may sound far-fetched and that I give way more credibility to a minuscule, colorful bug than it is due. But bear with me and allow me to explain why I believe this to be true.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dinner for the Ladybug

"Aphids on the Flower"
"Aphids on the Flower"

The ladybug survives by eating the damaging sap-sucker known as an aphid, which is the main part of her diet. Aphids, smaller than ladybugs, are pests that suck the very life out of plants. If left to multiply unchecked, aphids will destroy necessary crops which are grown to feed livestock. They attack mainly alfalfa hay, a crop grown all around the world to provide nutritious feed for cattle and other animals.

Without the ladybug doing her innate job, fields of alfalfa hay would be damaged resulting in reduced yields, lost crops, and a dwindled food supply for dairy cows and beef producing steers. Cut backs in food for cattle would also lead to less production of dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter; and less beef produced such as steak and hamburger. Therefore, the tiny little ladybug provides for us all by doing her assigned daily task, helping to keep grocery stores stocked with many foods we are accustomed to finding there.

Get Your Ladybugs Here

Revive your garden or farm with these little orange beetles that reduce and eliminate aphids daily.

A Unique Childhood Memory from Days on the Farm

"Field in Rural"
"Field in Rural"

Ladybugs exist to contribute positively to the environment. A ladybug's specific purpose provides a valuable commodity to the farmer, especially those who grow alfalfa hay for a living. So valuable, in fact that many alfalfa farmers actually buy ladybugs to accomplish a natural measure of pest control.

Living much of my younger years on my grandparents' 90-acre alfalfa farm, I learned plenty about aphids and methods to control them. One of the most fun methods arose when grandpa purchased thousands of ladybugs, which arrived in wooden crates all filled to the brim with ladybugs. These crates stacked upwards stood in a very tall stack. This lent to creating one of my most unique memories of growing up on the farm. I will never forget the night when we released all those ladybugs-setting them free to provide a much needed service. The recommended procedure for distributing the ladybugs was to let them go during the nighttime. Our family worked well into the night by the light of flashlights, setting free thousands and thousands of ladybugs to begin their mission. It probably would have been an even more amazing sight to watch in the daylight but what I saw was still extremely memorable with just a flashlight to shine on the masses of little ladybugs flying away from the confinement of their crates as they zoomed away into the hayfields.

Look out aphids! You're under attack! Here come the ladybugs with an enormous appetite, all ready to eat!

Did it Work?

alfalfa hayfield
alfalfa hayfield

With the evidence being in the quality of hay my grandparents produced, I would say, "Definitely!"

The hay grew lush and produced high yields of alfalfa. With this added to grandpa's meticulous methods of harvesting the hay, my grandparent's farm produced the most sought after hay in the valley. Buyers in the surrounding area came to grandpa first for their alfalfa needs. And grandpa's hay would always sell out first before all the other farmers in the valley, bringing a premium price for his ingenuity and efforts.

The hay, in turn, fed many cattle which then produced all the items related to beef and dairy.

Ladybugs offer a natural, pesticide-free way to balance nature in favor of the farmer.

A Few Benefactors of the Ladybug's Work

DLeighAlexander Photo
DLeighAlexander Photo

The Pretty Little Ladybug-a Tiny, Vital Insect

"Ladybug"
"Ladybug"

Have you ever bought ladybugs and set them free to eliminate the aphid population in your field or garden?

See results

Munch, munch, . . .

With millions of ladybugs eating that many aphids daily, it has to positively impact the health of vegetation and produce higher yields. Therefore, the increase in alfalfa yield worldwide traceable to the ladybug, would have to be significant.

A Tiny Ladybug Eats an Even Tinier Aphid

Ladybug Eating an Aphid
Ladybug Eating an Aphid

Alfalfa is very nutritional for humans too and is often eaten as sprouts on a salad.

Alfalfa is . . . - Nutritious for Humans Too!

Support Your Local Garden Ladybugs for Their Part in Preserving Our Foodchain

Decorate Your Garden with Ladybugs - So Your Ladybugs Feel at Home There

Carson - BEADWORK GARDEN STEPPING STONE - LADYBUG WELCOME
Carson - BEADWORK GARDEN STEPPING STONE - LADYBUG WELCOME

Pretty little ladybug art to lead the way through your garden & Welcome All Ladybugs

 

Ladybugs rid roses of aphids too!

Ladybug & a Rose
Ladybug & a Rose

Ladybugs all dressed in red

Strolling through the flowerbed.

If I were tiny just like you

I'd creep among the flowers too!

— ~Maria Fleming

Ladybugs for Natural, Pesticide-Free Gardening

Lots of Ladybugs
Lots of Ladybugs

Would you buy ladybugs instead of pesticide to get rid of aphids?

See results

Do You Agree that the Ladybug Indirectly Affects the Availability of Certain Foods?

Does the existence of Ladybugs indirectly make a difference in the production of some foods?

See results

One More Fact About Ladybugs . . .

The spots on a Ladybug fade as they get older.

The Important Little Lady Bug

Do you now have a new or a renewed appreciation for the tiny little Ladybug?

See results

Thanks for Visiting - Are you a ladybug advocate too?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 2 years ago

      Thanks for visiting & your comment! Thanks too for buying my book; hope you enjoy reading it. Not planning on doing an online pie baking course--not sure what you read about me to ask that but I do enjoy baking pies. I used to help grandma on the farm with pie baking. We made all kinds.

    • profile image

      Layla 2 years ago

      I used to make yogurt what seems like a whole lota years ago - yikes. Loved it and you've iirpnsed me to try again. I also used to sprout mung beans and alfalfa but gave that up but have recently become addicted to sprouting lentils. Easy peasy, full of iron and yummy too. I think it's time to invest in a good quality dehydrator. I've had one of those KTEL jobs forever. Bought it thinking I would dry my own fruit but it ended up getting used to dry more flowers than food. Making my own raisins was an entire hoot!!By the by, I've pre-ordered your book. Yay. Can hardly wait. I'm hoping to become a really good pie baker because right now I apparently suck at that. Any chance you might offer an online course in pie baking?Cheers and happy new year.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @SheGetsCreative: Thank you!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'm definitely a ladybug advocate. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      amal-jose-37 4 years ago

      interesting !~

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @mel-kav: Sounds like we have something in common. Thanks for visiting!

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      Very interesting. I'd also been raised to never kill ladybugs because of their importance.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @EzLoanLookUp LM: Yes, they do a lot for us all. Thanks for visiting.

    • EzLoanLookUp LM profile image

      EzLoanLookUp LM 4 years ago

      Ladybugs are truly amazing creatures.

    • profile image

      Arc4life 4 years ago

      A Beautiful Lens.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @happy-birthday: Thank you for visiting. So glad you enjoyed reading about the ladybug :)

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      I always loved them :) we were thrilled as children when a ladybird walked onto our fingers

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 4 years ago from Here

      They are just so wonderful... :-) Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful lens!!!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      Yes, we need them to protect our plants, and for children to wonder at.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I've always called them ladybirds (sounds nicer than a bug). I've also always loved them. I've not seen a place to purchase them though...that's new to me:)

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @Rhonda Lytle: Yes that would be a downside. They accomplished their mission but maybe some offspring will appear later on in your garden? Thanks for your comment :)

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Ladybugs are so cute. They worked really well for us in the garden too. We set out two boxes earlier this year to combat what was eating my kale. It only took them a few days. The sad part is when they eat all the bugs, they fly away but every now and then I still see a straggler.

    • DLeighAlexander profile image
      Author

      DLeighAlexander 4 years ago

      @AlleyCatLane: Thanks for your comment. I learned that ladybugs come in other colors while doing this lens, I was not aware of that before. Would love to see some in blue, pink, & purple :)

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      I love ladybugs. I just finished working on my ladybug charms post for my web site, in fact. Did you know ladybugs also come in yellow, orange, black and pink in nature? Congrats on your purple star!

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      Excellent info about these beautiful creatures. I never knew they were so useful too.

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 4 years ago from Northern California

      We almost resorted to buying ladybugs this year to manage our aphids. Thanks for all of the great info on these helpful bugs.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Thanks for this educational site.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      Congrats on making the highlight reel. I love, love, love ladybugs. They play a vital role in our world. Enjoyed learning more about them here and appreciated your enthusiastic writing style. Well done!

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Lady bugs are one of the only bugs that my kids will catch and play with. I love seeing them around the garden. Pesticide-free is the way to go.

    • tonyaalves3 profile image

      tonyaalves3 4 years ago

      I enjoy taking the quizzes. I learned a lot from it