Eighteen-thousand ladybugs now have a new place to call home.
The city's horticulture division released the tiny insects Thursday evening at 14 spots around town, including Buford Watson Park and the Union Pacific Depot.
They hope the beneficial bugs will be a pesticide-free alternative to fighting the aphid problem that's plaguing flowers in the city's parks this year.
"The aphids have an unusually high population this year because of the cool, cloudy weather that we've had, and it's also a problem in many of the local greenhouses," the city's horticulture manager, Crystal Miles, said. "We think the populations have perhaps built up a resistance to any kind of pesticide treatment we might use, and maybe this is a better alternative for us to try to control them naturally."
The ladybugs were released in the evening during what's typically their quiet time when they're less likely to fly away, Miles said. And Thursday night you could already see hundreds of them hard at work.
She said the price was right, too. The parks and rec department purchased all 18,000 ladybugs over the internet from a company in Montana for just $43.
They hope to see results in the next few days.