Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens is about to be home to 36,000 new guests. On Thursday, the gardens will host two insect-related events: Insect Adventure and Lady Bug Release. Jars filled with ladybugs will be available for $1.
The Insect Adventure will showcase 25 species of living arthropods with a live bug petting zoo, the only one of its kind in Oklahoma. An entomologist will provide information about all of the featured invertebrates for children and adults.
Presentations will take place hourly between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and are included with the price of admission. The main attractions, however, are the thousands of bright insects that will soon be populating the conservatory.
The ladybugs could not be placed in a more perfect environment to thrive. The unique design of the conservatory helps them receive everything they need in order to be healthy and happy.
They’ll have plenty of room to stretch their wings in the 13,000 square feet of plant display, which is split into two distinct zones. The first zone is the Tropical Wet Zone, which is watered on a daily basis year-round and is found on the south end. On the north end of the conservatory is the Tropical Dry Zone, which is watered from April through September. All in all, the center holds roughly 2,000 different varieties of plants, many of which will be home to the ladybug’s favorite food: the aphid.
Casey Sharber, director of horticulture, said there is a key reason this is beneficial to not only the plants and the environment but also to the ladybugs.
“We use them as part of our Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program,” Sharber said. “They are beneficial insects because they eat bad insects such as aphids. This is much better for the environment and for people because it’s a solution to the problem that is natural, not chemical.”
In a society in which everything is genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides, any measures that can be taken so more things can be done naturally is a huge plus to the environment.
Myriad Botanical Gardens has a long history of hosting educational events, and this year will be no exception.