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17:39

Fighting Aphids Naturally: How the Mall of America Handled their Pest Problem

3240104822_212aa12067Ladybugs are universally loved, rarely looked at with the same disgust reserved for other members of the bug family, like roaches or ants. Beyond their reputation as a symbol of good luck, however, ladybugs are actually quite useful; they are the natural enemy of aphids, preying on pests and providing a form of natural pest control. The Mall of America recently dealt with an aphid infestation, and they turned to ladybugs to help them control the problem.

An Aphid Invasion

The Mall of America is a huge retail space, housing an aquarium, a theme park, a golf course and even a mirror maze. In addition, it is the home to tens of thousands of plants and hundreds of trees; in addition to providing a nice atmosphere for patrons, the greenery works to purify the air inside the building. Aphids unfortunately began to thrive inside the mall, eating the plants and leaving small trails of destruction in their wake. Rather than use pesticides to reduce the aphid population, however, the Mall of America decided to take a different approach.

The Pesticide-Free Solution

More than 70,000 ladybugs were released in the Mall of America to help battle the aphids, a strategy that mall officials have turned to before to combat similar issues. Although it may seem as though releasing so many bugs would simply compound the problem, officials say that generally isn’t true; ladybugs tend to stay in one place, moving from plant to plant rather than flying through the air and bothering patrons. Unless they knew of the mall’s plans, most visitors would never realize there were so many ladybugs in their midst. In addition, the presence of the ladybugs meant that the Mall of America could avoid using pesticides to bring down the aphid population.

Concerns for the Future

For a variety of reasons, ladybug populations are dwindling in numbers across North America. Scientists speculate that part of the problem may be tied to global warming. The Lost Ladybug Project is looking into the issue in an attempt to understand what this phenomenon could mean for the future. Because these bugs are so helpful, it is important to try and understand what is happening and figure out how to reverse the trend, if possible.

Natural pest control methods, like using ladybugs to control aphid populations, are becoming more popular as businesses and private citizens alike try to avoid using pesticides as much as possible. The Mall of America is a great example of how successful this approach can be. Remember, however, that if you are faced with a particularly tricky bug problem, many New Jersey pest control companies use an integrated pest management approach that is much “greener” than simply spraying chemicals on your property.

Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Martin LaBar

The post Fighting Aphids Naturally: How the Mall of America Handled their Pest Problem appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

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