Aphids don’t stand a chance in the Mill Valley Children’s Garden, now that nearly 80,000 ladybugs are on the loose. The garden, a half-acre swath at Edna Maguire Elementary School, was the site of the 13th annual ladybug release on Tuesday, a tradition that helps keep the school’s plant beds pest-free. Students, from first- to fifth-graders, took part in the release, cutting open the bags that held the ladybugs and dumping them on to the various vegetables growing in the garden. A ladybug can eat up to 60 aphids a day, making it a useful — and organic — tool to keep aphid populations down.
In photo at top, ladybugs gather around the base of an onion plant. Above, children file into the garden to hear a presentation and release 79,500 ladybugs. At right, Kiana Lyman (left) helps Sofia Akram open a bag of ladybugs.
Frakie Frost photos/Marin Independent Journal