26,000 ladybugs to be released for Earth Day

A major shipment of 26,000 lady bugs recently delivered to a south Miami-Dade nursery are the main attraction of Palmetto Bay’s third annual Earth Week Celebration, which continues through Apr. 24.

These “ladies in waiting” have been laying dormant in a secure refrigerated location for release at six local schools this week to demonstrate the important role they play as “nature’s pesticide.”

While students at Perrine Elementary, Howard Drive Elementary, and Christ Fellowship Academy have released a total of 10,000 of these colorful beetles, three more schools are scheduled on Apr. 22, Earth Day.

“Ladybugs are a member of the beetle family that feed on aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and mites, all of which can decimate local plants,” said Patricia Kyle, manager of Galloway Farm Nursery. “That’s why we stock them, as a natural — and fun — way for people to protect their gardens from intruders.”

Ladybugs respond to cooler temperatures by slipping into a motionless, dormant state. Upon exposure to warm temperature, such as sunny mornings in South Florida, they spring to life and begin their work.

Kids learn this valuable green-friendly lesson through classroom instruction leading up to the hands-on distribution of ladybugs in their schoolyards during Earth Week, lead by Mayor Eugene Flinn and members of the Palmetto Bay Village Council.

“By appreciating the Earth and by knowing how it is changing, we can make responsible life decisions — and enlighten our children to do the same,” Mayor Flinn said.

The remaining supply of ladybugs are scheduled for release on Earth Day at Coral Reef Elementary (9-10 a.m.), Alexander Montessori (10-11 a.m.), and Winhold Montessori (11 a.m.-noon). Earth Day was established as a celebration intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

In the U.S., Sen. Gaylord Nelson met with President John F. Kennedy and urged the recognition of Earth Day. Since January 1970, many countries decided that a global observance needed to be recognized; therefore, Apr. 22 is recognized as Earth Day each year. This year, hundreds of millions of people in more than 180 countries are expected to participate in Earth Day activities.

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