Late Thursday afternoon, the newly arrived pest-control troops swarmed over Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. In their flashy red and black jackets, they fanned out among the flowers and shrubs, searching for aphids, mites and other threats to the greenery at the heavily landscaped campus of Manhattanâ€™s most famous middle-income rental complex.
Their intention was to eat them.
The troops were ladybugs. Some 720,000 of them were released by groundskeepers at the complex, which occupies 18 square blocks northeast of First Avenue and East 14th Street. The ladybugs are part of an effort by the complexâ€™s new owners, Tishman Speyer, to move away from using chemical insecticides to protect the plants and grass that cover 40 acres there.
720,000, that’s a lot of ladies. The company supplying the ladybugs, Planet Natural is host to hundreds of other natural pesticides, fertilizers and other garden supplies. Other predatory bugs recommended/supplied by Planet Natural (since we just love bugs around here):
Scary, right? I’d be scared if I met one of these my size in the garden.