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Re: Ecological impact of ladybug harvesting

Hello Marcie, Cheryl, Bill

In a message dated 05/09/1997 3:17:01 PM, MARCIEROSE@aol.com wrote:

>Lady bugs are indeed harvested from the wild here in our own Sierra Nevada
>foothills where the migrate in Spring as the Sacramento and San Joaquin
>valleys warm up.  They rest and breed up here much as Monarch butterflies
>overwinter along our coast in the Monterey area.  Lady bugs gather in large
>groups on the floor of pine forests and are easily scooped up with a bucket.
>   Collecting areas are a jealously guarded secret, although some companies
>have been known to advertise for Lady bug collectors in the local papers.

A few days before Cheryl's post, I was raking leaves up around our evergreens
that protect the garden from the west and the north winds. I thought I saw
some woodland plants that I hadn't seen before, so I got down and brushed
away the leaves to see better, and to my great surprize I saw hundreds of
lady bugs under the leaves! My garden has always been blessed with many lady
bugs but I never was quite sure why. 
>Acquaintences of mine in the insectiary business tell me they have never
>able to successfully breed Lady bugs in captivity, so, to the best of my
>knowledge, your Lady bugs are wild collected.  

(I just *assumed* commercial lady bugs were bred in a cage somewhere.)

The populations are at the
>mercy of paid collectors who ostensibly leave some in the wild to
>re-populate.  This is obviously a dicey proposition when you advertise for
>collectors and pay the per pound collected.

Sounds the same as the moss pickers in the forest.
>I personally think the whole Lady bug industry is a disaster waiting to
>happen if someone doesn't learn how to captive breed this helpful insect --
>unlikely to happen as long as the wild population remains easy pickin's.  
Marcie, maybe the solution is to educate your customers, and sell them