there are 5 exploding rose bushes that line our driveway, each one boasting a different color and each a distinct scent of flower. since we moved in i haven't done much to take care of them besides cutting off the dead blossoms and watering them every once in awhile and, just lately, they have thanked me profusely by blooming their little hearts out. of course, no matter how healthy a rose bush may be, those pesky aphids seem eager to take them down a notch and our rose bushes are no exception.
when i was in the backyard with tristan the other day finding ladybugs in the grass, josh informed me that ladybugs like to eat aphids. barely had the sentence left his mouth before i was collecting pretty little spotted crawlies and carrying them carefully to the rose bushes in the front yard. it was morbidly fascinating to watch the ladybugs wander around their new home for a bit before finding a nice, juicy aphid and biting its head off. after josh mowed our "lawn" (i like to call it a lawn, though there are plenty more weeds back there than grass) i realized with a bit of horror that many ladybugs were probably finely diced and would no longer serve their noble purpose of Aphid Destroyers. still, i found a few more this afternoon and even got the neighbor girl in on my quest to populate our rose bushes with so many ladybugs that the aphids would run screaming from them in fright.
i realized that ladybug catching had become a sort of obsession for me this evening at josh's folk's house. we had just finished a delicious scottish dinner of steak pie with peas and i was in the backyard letting tristan roam free amongst the chickens when i noticed that i was seeing red spots in the grass when there really weren't any there. try as i might to ignore my ladybug sensing instincts, i just couldn't stop scanning the grass as i walked, looking for bits of bright red. upon nearing the little car that tristan loves to sit in, i saw a sort of movement in the grass. thinking it could be a ladybug, i looked closer and discovered that it was a rather large swarm of earwigs. by the time i realized that there were earwigs on the seat next to my son, he had realized the same thing and was removing himself hastily from the vehicle. i pushed the car forward revealing what looked like an earwig orgy that had just been interrupted. chris, bless her heart, called the chickens over to eat their fill of the disgusting bugs as she took hold of tristan's little car and shook it. dozens of earwigs feel from the car and, as she kept shaking and banging it, more and more kept falling to the ground. the chickens must have been pecking faster than ever before to keep up with all of them. that's when i noticed that the earwigs were swarming around one of the plastic, hollow wheels of the car. chris must have shook that thing for a good 10 minutes and i would say that hundreds of earwigs came falling out of that hollow wheel. it was so disgusting, i'm still feeling itchy just thinking about it.
i hear that natural predators of earwigs are toads. however, ladybug collecting and toad collecting are two very different things. good thing they have chickens over there.