Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Ulster County’s Master Gardeners are participating in the Lost Lady Bug Project with Cornell University. The nine-spotted ladybug was declared the official New York State insect in 1989; however, by 1995, there was only a single small colony of the ladybugs left in the state. After being raised at Cornell University, the native lady bugs were delivered via Federal Express to Ulster County. On Tuesday, September 1 the ladybugs were released into the SUNY Ulster Xeriscape Garden.
The insects will help with pest control and species restoration in the garden. The program will last through 2022 and will continue to release native ladybugs for pest control and species restoration as well as tours of native plants that attract native ladybugs and other beneficial insects. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to make seed balls, which will grow a variety of native ladybug attracting plants. Seeds will include a research-based mix of flowering plant seeds known to attract not only ladybugs, but also other beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, damselflies, big-eyed bugs, spiders, and tachinids. There will be training for Master Gardeners focused on how to conduct ladybug releases and use ladybug rearing kits for learning projects with other adults and youth in 4-H programs. Upcoming workshops on ladybugs and other beneficials for pest control are in the works.
Additionally, the team of Master Gardeners has partnered with the Kingston Garden Bed Project Mentors. The project began in June and aims to encourage community members to learn more about growing food from their own homes. 4’x8’ raised beds as well as soil and compost were delivered to a small group of homeowners and renters within the Kingston area. Participants were able to pick vegetable plant starters thanks to donations from Hudson Valley Seed Company and Hudson Valley Farm Hub. Master Gardeners were further trained on how to mentor new gardeners.
CCE Ulster’s Community Horticulture Program is also working in partnership with the Ellenville Regional Hospital on a community health and wellness project. CCE Ulster provides EFNEP and SNAP Education to the local community. Katie Sheehan-Lopez and Melinda Herzog attend monthly meetings where they provide cooking classes.
For more information about CCE Ulster’s Community Horticulture Program visit us on the web at ulster.cce.cornell.edu/gardening. Have a gardening question? Our Master Gardeners are here to help! Call the Horticulture Hotline 845-340-DIRT (3478).