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Yellowjackets in Christmas trees

Balsamfirsjpeg_copy They are not the kind of ornaments people like to see on the boughs of a balsam fir.

Some yellowjackets found in a shipment of Christmas trees to Hawaii have island dwellers in a panic. Four containers, each holding 300 trees, were quarantined after they were found to be buzzing with live yellowjackets.

Some news stories have called them wasps, but apparently the insects were an aggressive species of yellowjacket known as Vespula Germanica -- the German yellowjacket.

The trees reportedly were shipped from the Pacific Northwest -- our neck of the woods. Oops.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is currently inspecting all the containers.

November 28, 2007 in Yellowjackets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ladybugs let loose in Manhattan

Ladybuglrg Some 720,000 ladybugs experienced culture shock last week as they were moved from the big sky country of Montana to the metropolis of Manhattan.

The red-and-black insects were purchased for the purpose of picking off pests among the greenery of one of New York's biggest apartment complexes, covering 80 acres on the East Side. The ladybugs' job will be to disperse among the plants, flowers and shrubs that dot the complex, and destroy and eat pestiferous aphids and mites.

The owner of the apartment complex purchased the ladybugs from one of our online customers, Planet Natural of Bozeman, Montana. Owner Eric Vinje has been offering his customers the RESCUE! Reusable Yellowjacket Trap, Disposable Yellowjacket Trap, Disposable Fly Trap and Japanese Beetle Trap for years.

Aside from selling the ladybugs themselves (at $16.50 for 2,000), Planet Natural sells a ladybug attractant as well as attractants for other beneficial insects. They also have the remaining stock of an attractant formerly part of the RESCUE line: the RESCUE! Soldier Bug Attractor to lure the beneficial Spined Soldier Bug.

By employing the ladybugs, the owner of the apartment complex is hoping to avoid using chemical insecticides. Vinge says that each ladybug can patrol a 19-inch by 19-inch piece of land and eat up to 50 pests a day.

Vinje also stresses that this is not the Asian ladybug that has become a pest itself by taking up residence inside homes. The Latin name for the Asian ladybug is Harmonia axyridis, while the NYC ladybugs are Hippodamia convergens.

November 5, 2007 in Bugs in the news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack