We can tell you what’s bugging us this summer—the 28-spotted ladybug! (Or ladybird, depending on whether you’re British or not.) Ladybugs are usually beneficial insects in a growing environment because they eat aphids like it’s their job, but the 28-spotted variety would rather devour potatoes and other solanaceous crops like tomatoes and peppers, Cucurbitaceae crops like cucumbers and squash, and Fabaceae crops like beans and peanuts.
Farmer Services Coordinator Donn Cooper got a photo of one of these atop a cucumber plant leaf, and says this is the first summer he’s seen the 28-spotted ladybug to such an extent. UGH, BUGS.
Luckily, this week the National Young Farmers Coalition has a couple of experts on their Farmers Forum answering your pest questions: Mike Dimock, PhD and field director for Certis USA, and Jeff Moyer, farm manager at the Rodale Institute.
UPDATE: A glimpse of the little pest’s eggs: