I’ve mentioned my daughter’s love of ladybugs. And for those of you who don’t know, she loves them to death. Literally.
Everyday Leah finds a ladybug and carries it in a fisted hand while she plays (“No, Mom, she’s not dead. She’s resting.”) As a result she was killing approximately one ladybug per day (or more, when our ladybug population was especially unlucky). And for whatever reason, this past week I was struck with the sudden urge to stop the pesticide.
So instead of killing them off, we took them in as pets, putting them in a grass-filled jar with a vented lid. Now, I’ve never been good with pets. I’m a cat person because they’re low-maintenance, snobby pets that don’t require much on my end. Luckily ladybugs run a close second to cats; all they need is a handful of grass, a wet napkin and some moistened raisins in their jar, and voila—you’ve got a ladybug paradise.
I thought so, at least, until I went to replace their moistened toilet for the first time. As soon as I unscrewed the lid about ten ladybugs rushed the lip of the jar; I swear I could hear them all squeal, “Help me, help me.” The ladybugs were not convinced that Leah’s little love jar was a ladybug paradise.
But Leah carried this jar around like other four-year old girls carry around dolls or purses. The first few nights she even slept with it. So I knew that this little ecosystem of love, while in need of modifications, would have to stay.
So I made an executive decision that each day I would release two ladybugs back to the wild. Which is how our pet ladybugs came to be on a work-release program. The Hub asked, “How will you know which to release so you don’t keep a few of them in there forever?” "Well," I said defensively. "I'm not going to tag them." I had to refer him to paragraph three of this post—our ladybugs are LOW-maintenance pets and require no tagging or research journals of any kind. I'm trusting bug karma to sort it out.