Contact Me

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lady Bugs Are Eating My Tomatoes!


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.

Your turn
Have you heard or read of any absurd or comical  assumptions about gardening like "lady bugs are eating my tomatoes"?


  1. I know of a fellow who orders ladybugs through the mail to turn loose in his greenhouse! They are wonderful little bugs who will do battle with aphids and other such critters. Besides they are neat to hold in your hand and watch! Thanks for coming to the defense of ladybugs! good post, the rat

    1. Rat,
      I think there was mention of buying ladybugs. There was such chaos that it was hard to sort their objections. Oh, I always defend ladybugs and have never killed one. Oh, there was that time I vacuumed several hundred from each window and the ceilings. I was so kind that they thrived. There was no way to catch them and put them outdoors.

  2. By the way, I been meaning to tell you for awhile now what a terrific blog I think you got here. It is delightful. thank you for all the work you put into it. the rat

  3. great post!

    i was going to mention what the rat already said - people order ladybugs to PUT INTO their garden - i doubt that is a pest!!

    a lot of people who should know better kill hawks and snakes just because... if you have problems with rodents, this is the last thing you should do!

    90% of time, natural predators are a gardeners friend!

  4. jambaloney,
    I let a snake live here and even though I had to try to beat it to my chickens eggs, it cleared out all the ground squirrels/chipmunks that I hated so. My friend in the country had a huge tomato garden in his front yard that had a guard snake. No birds or other tomato-loving critters ever touched a tomato that year.

    I would not describe myself as a country or city girl, as I have lived both places, mostly city. However, I suppose reading and listening to parents and relatives made me more aware of the ways of nature than these people who were definitely country people.

  5. AAK@!Don't you hate it when folks just wont learn?? I've been seeing more lady bugs in the area this spring than I have in a long time....hope a few find their way to the garden

  6. Katidids,
    Yes, and these are people you would think would be more in touch with nature. I saw a few ladybugs in the house in early spring, but none outdoors. Of course, they show up better when they fly into a pot of something or crawl on vegetables that are light, or sit on the wall.

  7. I am a garden ignoramus. We had little critters in Illinois that looked a lot like ladybugs, but I think they were called Japanese beetles. The farmers wanted them in their soybean fields because they ate aphids. Since I lived in the middle of their fields, the beetles came in my house. They could bite. Hard. Now you have me thinking about ladybugs, and I just realized I don't think I've ever seen a ladybug in my neck of Florida. How odd.


  8. Janie,
    I think that Japanese beetles eat plants, not aphids. They are a pest in a soybean fields. Japanese beetles look nothing like a ladybug. There is no way a person could confuse the two. Ladybugs are round and red with black spots. Japanese beetles are longish and iridescent/metallic blue-green and bronze and have no spots. There are other beetles that look like ladybugs and eat aphids. Don't ask me what they As for biting, I have encountered many JB and never even had one get on me. But, I will now be careful, just in case. Other beetles eat aphids; JB don't. I, too, am a garden ignoramus at times.

    I don't think you are an ignoramus.

    1. I don't know what those ladybug-like critters were, then. I think it was my nasty sister who said they were Japanese beetles. They used to bug me (pun intended) because they got in the house all the time, but they weren't as bad as the palmetto bugs in Florida.

    2. Palmetto bugs would be horrid. Now, I am curious as to what they were. However, there are other bugs that are like lady bugs, different color that do eat things.

  9. :-0 Oh, my stars and garters! Bless you, dear lady, for trying to set these ladies on the straight path.

    1. Sue,
      I sort of imagine that they just poisoned the lady bugs. They probably thought the lady from the big town of 16K and who spoke funny (educated and not hysterical or twangy country) just didn't know what she was talking about.

      Lots of twangy, country-speaking people know lots about gardening, so not criticizing these people.


For the present, I am taking comment moderation off the blog.