Green Fingers I Wish

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ladybirds Cover Farm

The red and black insect army literally covers "every possible inch" of the 20-acre site.

They sit three or four deep on walls, tree trunks and machinery and look like a "crawling, wriggling carpet" on the grass.

Experts say the ladybirds are feasting on the natural 'larder' of aphids or greenfly, a plant-eating insect, that descended on the farm last month.

The site owners grow thousands of square metres of 'eco-roofing' made of sedum, a cactus-like grass - the aphid's favourite food.

Ladybirds thrive on greenfly and as the sedum flourishes in summer, the numbers of aphids increase tenfold - attracting even larger numbers of the hungry bug.

Staff at Blackdown Horticultural Consultants say vast numbers of ladybirds arrive at the farm in Combe Saint Nicholas, near Chard in Somerset, every July and August.

But this year has seen an explosion in aphid numbers - and the biggest swarm of ladybirds for 10 years.


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