Updated:
Original:

Thousands of ladybugs are getting turned loose at the Mall

Mall of America marks Earth Day with a pest control party, starring ladybugs.

It's time for the annual pest control blitz at Mall of America. So before they open the doors to the public on Thursday, they'll let in about 20 kids ... along with 75,000 ladybugs.

That's how they've been doing it since the Bloomington mall opened nearly 25 years ago, the MOA blog explained this week. Ladybugs released right around Earth Day protect the mall's 30,000 or so plants by eating the smaller bugs – especially aphids – that could be a threat to the greenery.

The children recruited to release the ladybugs between 7:30 and 9 a.m. Thursday are from groups including Fraser Minnesota, which provides services to kids with autism or other special needs.

The Star Tribune says kids from the Girl Scouts and from Children's Hospital of Minneapolis will also be helping.

Ladybugs chow down on aphids

The University of Minnesota says more than 300 kinds of aphids live in the state. And, as most gardeners know, the bugs can do a lot of damage by sucking the juice out of plants.

Thankfully, though, ladybugs can do a whole lot of damage to an aphid colony. The website Nature's Control says a single ladybug (they're also known as ladybirds) eats 5,000 aphids in a year.

But a year is as long as they live, which explains why the ladybug release is an annual ritual at the mall.

75,000 is a lot of ladybugs. Live Science notes that some shoppers have wondered if the bugs might wander into mall food courts and wind up on the forks of diners. But mall staff say experience shows the bugs are not interested in human food – focusing instead on their own meals, which are served on plants, flowers, and trees.

Next Up

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.

CDC biohazard scientist health work

New clue may explain how rare tropical disease sickened Minnesotan

The disease, known as melioidosis, killed 2 people earlier this year.

Sen Mark Koran crop

MN lawmaker encourages donations for locals charged in Jan. 6 insurrection

"They are a good family!" Sen. Mark Koran wrote Friday.

money

Money Gal Coaching: Mastering the spiritual parts of money

Kelly Blodgett used her passion behind becoming debt free to launch Money Gal Coaching.

University of minnesota sign

U of M will now require proof that employees have been vaccinated for COVID

Previously, only students were required to be vaccinated.

Jim Hagedorn

Report reveals details about ethics investigation into Rep. Hagedorn

The congressman described the report's findings as "unfounded conclusions."

33462769592_d32f34fd48_k

SkyWest cancels hundreds of flights due to server error

More than 80 have been canceled at MSP Airport.

elk

First elk in more than 100 years spotted in parts of southern WI

The elk population was reintroduced to Wisconsin in recent decades.

grand marais

10 beautiful Minnesota cities to visit for outdoor adventures

These places are perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Related

Mall of America turns 20

The MOA is 20! Time flies when you're shopping. In two decades, the Mall of America has weathered criticism, economic downturns and occasional bad publicity, but officials with the Megamall say the international tourist draw has a bright future.

Get paid $2,500 to write about spending 5 days in Mall of America

How would you spend five days in the Mall of America?

Only 3 stores will open at the Mall of America on Thanksgiving

Shoppers heading to the Mall of America on Thanksgiving will only have three stores to choose from, as retailers are embracing its decision to close on turkey day.

How Mall of America is using data it gets from shoppers on the free Wi-Fi

Mall of America is collecting data on the shoppers that log into its 5.6-million-square-foot Wi-Fi network.

Flashy new movie theater will replace the old one at Mall of America

Fancy food and cocktails replaces Milk Duds and pop at the new Mall of America movie theater.

Flashy new movie theater will replace the old one at Mall of America

Fancy food and cocktails replaces Milk Duds and pop at the new Mall of America movie theater.