Children eagerly held their hands open Saturday as ladybugs were dropped onto their palms at the Hardin County Public Library.
Audrey Dakin, 7, said “it all felt ticking” when they crawled into her arms.
Dakin was one of several children who gathered at the library to learn about the coccinellidae beetles — commonly known as ladybugs — and release them into the library’s children’s garden. The event is usually held each year at the library in conjunction with the Garden Club of Elizabethtown.
“The whole idea is to teach children about alternative ways of pest control. Ladybugs will eat pests in gardens,” said club president Mary Beth Marcum, noting that ladybugs are a natural way to get rid of pests that gardeners tend to use pesticides for. “We’re trying to educate them to figure out ways to deal with things that are better for the environment, because those pesticides are one of the main things that kill our bees and butterflies … the good things that we want to pollinate. “
Ladybugs help control insect pests such as aphids, scales and mites.
According to National Geographic, ladybugs were named in Europe during the Middle Ages when swarms of aphids were destroying crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary and help came in the form of ladybugs that consumed the plant-destroying pests and saved the crops.
After ladybugs came and wiped out the invasive insects, the website said the farmers called them “beetle of Our Lady”. It was eventually shortened to ladybug and ladybug.
Before the release of the nearly 10,000 ladybugs at the library, children were given snacks and drinks and the book “Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy” was read to the children by garden club members Marcum and Lee Ann Caudill, who dressed as a ladybug.