Ladybugs invade Oak Bay

Published on May 11, 2017, 12:17 pm

Published by Oak Bay News

A little luck could land on your shoulders as the sugar water washes off the wings of thousands of ladybugs tucked into local trees last week. Oak Bay Parks staff infested Linden and birch trees throughout Oak Bay with 70,000 ladybugs. “We do about 400 to 500 trees that get the most aphids,” said Chris Paul, an arborist with Oak Bay Parks. “We release them in the tree and we spray them with sugar water so they can’t open their wings and can’t fly away. They crawl up the tree and look for food.” They also let loose 24 vials – of 20 larva each – of aphidoletes. They’re so tiny you may not spot them, but they do big work. “They hatch and fly out and into colonies of aphids. Their larvae eat aphids aggressively,” Paul said. “In a block of say 10 trees we put one of those vials and let them go from there.” It’s all a biological battle against aphids, while avoiding pesticide use. “When aphid populations get really high they cause an awful mess,” Paul said. “They’re an insect that sucks fluids out of a tree, when populations get really, really high they can damage trees. We do it mostly as nuisance control.”

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