That is what she said. "I was so upset and tried to get them off, but they just kept eating my tomatoes." All sorts of uninformed people volunteered the correct poison to use. They mostly hoped the lady bugs did not find their gardens.
I tried to interject myself about five times before I finally got loud enough to be heard. While the woman was hysterically talking about evil lady bugs, others were joining in. Finally, I got a word in.
No, lady bugs don't eat tomatoes.
"Yes they do; you did not see them, hundreds of them, all eating on my tomatoes! You did not see them, all eating on tomatoes"
My head was bursting from the cacophony around me. It seemed hysteria would sweep all the women away.
Lady bugs don't eat tomatoes. They were eating aphids or mites or something that was attacking the tomatoes.
Back and forth we went with some disbelievers making rude faces at me. Finally, she decided, "I will just poison the whole garden and that will get rid of the whatever-you-said and the lady bugs. I don't want to take a chance since I have never grown tomatoes before and don't want to lose them.
You will kill all the good bugs. You will put poison on food you will eat. Your kids will eat poison.
The poor woman was deflated when she figured out she should not put poison on the plants, ground, and bugs. With a bewildered look and drooping shoulders, she asked me what to do. I tried to explain the potion of garlic, hot peppers, onion, Dawn, and oil that could be sprayed onto the garden. One woman hopefully offered that just soap and water would work. I agreed.
I tried to mention other bugs that look like ladybugs, some that do eat specific crops but lost their attention as they had other tales of gardening to share with each other.
This group of people were at least 25 miles from a small town and over 50 miles from a large city, deep-in-the-country folk. Likely most had lived in the country all their lives, probably never having finished high school. They were probably not computer literate and capable of researching and definitely had never heard much about gardening.
How have these country folk come to be so ignorant of lady bugs and tomatoes?
This encounter left me sad.
Click here to find more about ladybugs and pictures to color.
Have you heard or read of any absurd or comical assumptions about gardening like "lady bugs are eating my tomatoes"?