Ladybugs were crawling all over hands, shirts, heads and trees as the City of Regina held its second ladybug release in Victoria Park.
About 600 parents and kids showed up Thursday to help free 250,000 ladybugs in the park, with another 250,000 going home with families to be released in backyards around the city.
The city is using the ladybugs to control aphids.
“What we’re trying to do is a bit of a biological control method here to control the aphid population,” Russell Eirich, manager of forestry, pest control, and horticulture with the City of Regina said.
He explained that aphids are a constant problem in the summer and they can cause damage to trees.
“They have a piercing mouth part that actually sucks some of the juices out of the leaves, disfigures the leaves – that sort of thing – causes general stress to the tree.”
What people might notice most is the sticky substance aphids can put on cars and trees.
“That is actually aphid honeydew that’s coming down from the aphids. That honeydew is very sweet, will attract other insects like ants and wasps and insects that you don’t want,” explained Eirich.
This is the second year the city has done a ladybug release. Eirich said it was much more popular than they had expected and the city heard from people who wanted to see the event again.
Mosquitoes numbers increasing
Eirich is expecting mosquito numbers to rise again in Regina.
He said the most recent mosquito traps did show fewer than normal – 23 per trap with the historical average being 41.
However, Eirich said he thinks that’s just because we’re in between generations of mosquitoes right now. But, he thinks another generation is about to come up.
“We’ve had a lot more rain in the last few days, so that’s going to help contribute to future mosquito numbers. You should see those numbers start to increase in about 10 to 15 days time.”
At least four Regina trees taken down due Dutch elm disease
The city of Regina took down another tree due to Dutch elm disease on Thursday morning and another could be on the way.
Eirich said these are the fourth and – if another is deemed to have the disease – fifth trees to be taken down this year, which is right on the city’s average.
There are six weeks still to go in the season for Dutch elm disease.
Eirich explained how people can tell if their trees are suffering: if they have unhealthy-looking, yellow leaves that are drooping but not falling off the tree. Eventually, they’ll turn brown and crunchy on the branch.
If a person suspects their tree has the disease, they can call the city and request an inspector free of charge to come out and check.