Ladybugs to the Rescue!

Ladybugs to the Rescue!

At High Tech High School, after the disastrous aphid attack on our hydroponics greenhouse, Ms. Otiepka, the hydroponics teacher, rushed to the rescue in an attempt to save the remaining crops using an innovative solution: ladybugs!

The Biomedical Seniors alongside the Environmental Science Juniors taking hydroponics, implemented pest management in the Hydroponic Greenhouse at High Tech High School. These students have been growing a variety of crops in the hydroponics greenhouse on the school campus all year, and aphids decided to stop by and say hello! Aphids have entered the greenhouse and have been contained, though, they are able to enter from the outdoors and through the vent system. They are attracted to the crop depicted in the pictures below, which are carrot shoots, located in the Nutrient Film Technique growing system. To encourage pest management using our indoor agricultural space, students applied ladybugs to act as a predator to the aphids, to rid them from the greenhouse. Ladybugs to the rescue!

When one of the seniors in hydroponics was asked about her opinion on these ladybugs in the greenhouse, she responded, “It’s fun to have ladybugs in hydroponics! I held them in my hands and put them onto the plants, and they are helping save the plants! I love Ms. Otiepka and her ladybugs! This is definitely a beneficial experience to have because watching the plants slowly become healthy again makes me happy!” Ms. Otiepka, the hydroponics teacher, responded “The ladybugs have significantly reduced the amount of aphids in our greenhouse, thankfully! Because we are utilizing our indoor agricultural space, the use of ladybugs as a predator for the aphids is a pesticide free technique for our insect management program, keeping our leafy greens and vegetables free of harsh chemicals.” Thanks to Ms. Otiepka for her innovative idea to keep the plants at High Tech aphid-free!

By Ayushi Patel

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