Why we Bought 1500 Bugs


We just invited a whole lotta bugs to live in our house for a while.

Why would we do that? Well…it all started one Christmas. I am silly and I do themes every Christmas to keep me reigned in on the impulse buying. Christmas of 2011 the theme was “Learning”. Whatever I bought had to have some educational component to it. Games, books, new hobbies, etc. I bought my husband a lemon tree so he would be compelled to learn how to take care of it. He’d been thinking about it for a few months since a co-worker gave him some limes from his own tree. When he got the tree he found the only window in the house with southern exposure and made a nice little home for it there.

18 months later, the tree is still alive! It has had issues like adjusting to the changing temperature through the year, leaves and blossoms falling off and spider mites crawling all over it. In spite of all that, it now boasts one lemon about an inch in diameter.


My husband did learn about what fertilizer to get and how often to feed it. He learned about why the leaves were falling off (most likely temperature changes and the mites) and he learned about a few ways to handle the mites.

One of those methods was rosemary essential oil. He put it in a spray bottle straight and sprayed it on liberally. Maybe a bit TOO liberally. Rosemary mist floated through the house. It smelled good, but it wasn’t easy on the lungs for some of us. The tree didn’t like it much either. More leaves fell off. It did bloom a few weeks later but most of the buds ended up on the floor. And…the spider mites came back.

He kept reading and researching and found a solution our kids thought was exciting! Ladybugs. LOTS of them. He ordered what was supposed to be 1500 live bugs HERE. It was more like 500, but I think that’s enough for our little lemon tree.


My husband and kids opened up the container and put a few on the tree. They seemed to like their new all-you-can-eat restaurant.


The kids had fun letting them crawl all over their arms.


When we put the open container at the base of the tree, a bunch crawled right up the trunk of the tree. Eat, ladybugs, EAT!


I don’t know how they’ll do as far as controlling the mites, but I have a feeling I’ll be finding them around the house for a while. At least they’re cute bugs. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the spider mite situation and our solitary lemon.

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