Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Lady & Her Lunch

Ladybug & aphid (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
A small speckled visitor
Wearing a crimson cape.
Brighter than a cherry
Smaller than a grape.
Tiny Ladybug
A polka-dotted someone
Walking on my wall.
A black-hooded lady
In a scarlet shawl.
~ Joan Walsh Anglund
The chick weed exploded behind the fence and with it came the aphids and the ladybugs. The ladybugs are thick, various numbers of spots noted; a few with no spots. Seems I've read that as ladybugs mature they lose their spots, unlike we humans who tend to gain them with age. These are not the easiest critters to capture in a macro shot, at least with my old camera and no tripod. Imagine my surprise when not only did the lovely ladybug show up in focus, but so did her lunch. There on the left, a tiny, almost translucent aphid; her unwilling "lunch date."

It reminds me of the year we had literally swarms of ladybugs in Mississippi. Millions and millions of them were in attics, cellars, in gardens, garages, and sheds. It was the fall of the year and they acted a bit sluggish. I swept up a gallon bag of them. The entomologist told people they could put them in the refrigerator for the winter and that many would revive in the spring, even though the majority looked almost dead when collected. Since they do such a fine job keeping aphids off roses and other garden plants, many people actually order them to put in the garden. Sure enough, when spring arrived at least half of the red ladies revived, and we released them to eat their little hearts out.

They are wonderful little insects, beautiful, unique, and useful; but one can't help but feel a tiny bit sorry for the aphid.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "small". (end of post)

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