Two days ago there were tens of thousands of native ladybugs in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator. They were sleeping in a small mesh bag that came in the mail. The insects were completely still, made dormant by the cool 45 degree temperature of the fridge. We’d been saving the ladybugs to put them on our growing vegetables in the field the first moment we saw aphids on their leaves. Aphids are tiny sap-sucking insects that feed on many of the plants we grow. Lucky for us, ladybugs’ favorite meal is aphids.
Yesterday, I accidentally took the ladybugs out of the cool fridge in the rush of making my children their school lunches. Whoopsies. By 8:30am the ladies were awake, moving, ready to start their new lives. I rushed them out to our fields where I had seen aphid pressure on the pac choi. I shook the ladybugs out of their bag onto the pac choi and watched as red and black specks flew through the air and then scurried over the plants. Other farm tasks pressed on my mind. But I watched anyway, caught in the moment of witnessing the beauty of organic farming, which asks that we know nature well enough to tend to it, nurture it, and collaborate with it while we grow our crops. The native ladybugs crawled over the leaves, instantly looking for food. I marveled at the perfection of it all.