If you purchase a plant at Rupert Lawn and Garden you might end up with a ladybug or two. The business is using ladybugs to battle aphids instead of using pesticides. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

3,000 ladybugs released in Prince Rupert greenhouses

Rupert Lawn and Garden is using natural means to battle aphids this year

Ladybugs may not seem like an obvious predator — unless you’re an aphid.

This year, to avoid using pesticides Rupert Lawn and Garden is using ladybugs and aphidoletes to devour one of the most common pests.

On April 10, manager Sheri Pringle and staff opened up a bag of 3,000 ladybugs and aphidoletes inside the greenhouses to get to work before the aphids do theirs.

“They come in a little cooler, and are a little bit sleepy when you first get them,” Pringle said.

Ladybugs can eat up to 50 aphids a day, and aphidoletes consume more than 60 different species of soft-bodied aphids. When released together they make quite the pest-fighting team.

READ MORE: What to do for Sustainability Month in Prince Rupert

Pringle said aphids are a problem in Prince Rupert. Aphids feed on new growth and a heavy infestation can stunt plant growth.

“The problem in a greenhouse is as soon as they take off they can really take off. It’s a way for us to avoid using pesticides and to really keep the aphid population at bay,” Pringle said.

Rupert Lawn and Garden is doing another release in early May around Mother’s Day, which is when the aphids typically come out again.

“You never know, if you look hard you might find a couple ladybugs on your plants,” Pringle said.

In April, the garden centre signed on to the Green Business Pledge with Transition Prince Rupert.

READ MORE: The Northern View takes the Green Business Pledge

Shannon Lough | Editor
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To battle aphids without using pesticides, Rupert Lawn and Garden released 3,000 ladybugs inside its greenhouses in April. (Submitted photo)

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