PESTS and DISEASES

Look for us at different events.

We help gardeners by answering questions, contact us at ask@mgmanitoba.com

Question:

For the first year, I am experiencing way too many ladybugs (Asian biting kind). They are everywhere as well as on my ornamental apple tree. I have noticed that I have a woodpecker that has a big focus on that tree as well. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to get rid of these ladybugs and if that woodpecker is killing my tree. There are rows of holes in the trunk and the ladybugs are hiding in some of those holes. I would hate to loose that tree as it serves as privacy between me and my neighbour and it is beautiful.

Answer:

In fall it is quite common to see more of these Asian ladybugs, and yes they do bite unlike our native ones which do not. They are looking for a place to overwinter and hence why they are going into these convenient holes. You are fortunate, as many come into homes through cracks and crevices and take up winter residence inside. Both lady beetles are beneficial insects devouring aphids, hence it is not recommended to destroy them. If they do migrate into your home vacuum them up and throw them into the trash. If you squash them they will give off a foul odour.

To answer your woodpecker problem, you say the holes are in rows, this is the sign of a sapsucker. The sapsucker drills these holes in trees so that they can access the sap and attract insects for the sapsucker to feed on. A very devious bird! It is difficult to keep the sapsucker away once they have been attracted to your tree. Some people have been successful hanging shiny objects from the tree branches; cd’s, reflective tape or pop cans. Sadly, if the sapsucker continues to do this damage to the tree, the tree will succumb after a few years. If the holes are random this is a sign that the bird is a woodpecker. Woodpeckers attack trees that are in their demise and not healthy. They are attacking insects that are in the tree.