A couple of weeks ago, a whole bunch of kids started noticing these funny little red and black critters in the gardens.  While I wasn’t totally sure at the time, my guess was that they were ladybug larvae.  Upon googling when I got home, I realized I was right! Hooray!  (Search for ladybug larva pics – they’re funny lookin’ little creatures!)  One day, one of the kids actually found a ladybug pupa too (i.e. in the process of turning from larva to a full-grown ladybug). Very cool!  When I tell them the life stage that the ladybug is in, the next question is very often “How old is it?”  Well, I had absolutely no idea what a ladybug’s life cycle timeline is…  In fact, just now while writing this, I decided to look it up.  Apparently they’re an egg for a few days, larva for about 2-4 weeks, pupa for around a week, and then an adult ladybug for a few months.  It’s great learning about these critters because of the kids’ curiosity!  I’ve also been telling the kids about the importance of ladybugs, since they eat all sorts of “bad” bugs like aphids.  So now a lot of the kids are pretty protective of the ladybugs!

Sage blossoms are very popular among the bees. Hmm, I wonder what sage blossom honey would taste like…

Last week at Withrow, it was a nice sunny morning and the sage was blooming in full force, meaning there were tons of different types of bees buzzing around the sage blossoms.  Watching bees fascinates me in general, but watching them in sage blossoms is extra amazing! With the shape of the sage blossoms, they have to go right inside the flower to get the nectar.  I’m also always fascinated to see the pollen sacks on their back legs. Wow!  I could have sat there for hours just watching the bees.  But even better was that when I was out there with a grade 4/5 class (doing a habitat postcards activity), the teacher and a few of the kids also got pretty excited about watching the bees.  So it wasn’t just the crazy Garden Lady raving about them, they got into it too. 😉


Can you spot the two Monarch caterpillar? Hint: they’re different sizes…
Now if I could just figure out why they’re hanging out on the lettuce rather than the milkweed plant that’s just above them..





Another creature we found last week at Withrow was a Monarch caterpillar hanging out among the lettuce just under a milkweed plant, so we decided to put it back on the milkweed so it could go back to eating.  I would be super excited to see a chryssalis in the next few weeks!

On a not-so-happy bug-related note:  We’ve started having problems with some leaf borers/miners, especially in the beets, but also in the spinach and some other plants too.  Do any of you have any suggestions for organic ways to get rid of them?

The beets, after I removed a whole bunch of vine-borer/miner ravaged leaves… You can still see some of the damaged leaves. Sigh.

I’m having a lot of fun (re)discovering a lot of these bugs with the kids, and learning a ton through their questions!

Happy growing!


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