Ladybirds have acquired a reputation that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Not in our garden, anyway.
“Ladybirds eat aphids.” So says the RHS1.
Well, ladybirds are hard to find here at my home address;
And what there are, are either blind or ignorant, I guess,
For our broad beans get smothered with black aphids in excess.
What’s going on? Perhaps an aphid diet is a bore
Or maybe they’re full up and just can’t face one aphid more?
I’ve never seen one eating any aphids on our crops.
Perhaps they’re buying them from on-line insect shops?
Or are the ones who visit us the ten percent who feed
On mildew, plants or pollen, and to aphids pay no heed2?
Maybe they’ve changed their diet, or do they hunt at night?
Whatever it might be, they just not helping solve my plight.
The RHS could help us by setting out to train
Our useless British ladybirds in a nation-wide campaign
Where ladybirds will learn how they can spot an aphid pool,
And what nutrition it affords, and how it’s really cool!
So ladybirds of Britain get to know it’s great to munch
And wrap their mandibles around a juicy aphid lunch.
1 The UK’s Royal Horticultural Society
2 According to the Woodland Trust’s ‘Nature’s Calendar’