“They’re all over me,” exclaimed students of Howard Drive. It was the annual tradition of releasing ladybugs in Palmetto Bay in advance of Earth Day.
Students met on the benches outside the front of the school donning ladybug construction paper cut-outs around their necks and each class then provided facts about ladybugs. Did you know a ladybug’s color fades as they age? A ladybug may consume 5,000 plant-destroying aphids in its life and ladybugs are completely harmless to humans.
No, "lady" in the name does not mean all of the bugs are female. Here's the backstory, courtesy of the Lost Ladybug Project: "During the Middle Ages in Europe, swarms of aphids were destroying crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help — and help came in the form of ladybugs that devoured the plant‐destroying pests and saved the crops. The grateful farmers named these insects 'Our Lady’s beetles,' a name which had endured to present day."
Teacher Nayibe Padilla explained, “This is an amazing experience for the kids. They are able to release ladybugs into the wild and learn about all the good things they do for the environment.”
Each class was handed a container with hundreds of ladybugs and sent to various locations on school grounds to let the kids release them. “This is one of my favorite activities every single year,” said Councilwoman Karyn Cunningham. “During Earth Week we visit every one of the elementary schools and spread the joy of education in this fun way.”
Mayor Eugene Flinn added, “When the adults got up to speak I could see the kids got antsy. So, I was quick to say that what the students were doing was great and then we got to spreading them around.”