For Earth Day on Thursday, children and horticulturists are releasing 140,000 ladybugs throughout the Disneyland Resort to help keep the plants healthy.
At about 9 a.m., 100 third graders from Peter Marshall Elementary School in Anaheim began the daylong process by taking compostable cups filled with 100 ladybugs each and dumping them into gardens at Disney’s California Adventure.
“It was really fun letting ladybugs crawl all over you,” said Makeilah Shea, 8.
The bug release is part of the 12-year-old integrated pest-management program at the Disneyland Resort, which routinely uses beneficial bugs to prevent other critters from destroying plants.
SEE VIDEO OF EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES BELOW.
Throughout the year, the resort casts out about 1 million bugs, eggs and larvae to fend off harmful insects. The process is done monthly, said John Schrimsher, the resort’s operations manager for horticulture.
Some students said they didn’t know how ladybugs could help the environment until Disney officials taught them.
“You should always help the flowers, help the plants and help the animals get free and stuff,” Makeilah said.
During the presentation, children in red ponchos with spots and antennas marched out with characters from the “A Bug’s Life” movie to put the bugs into the plant beds.
Some had to shake cups and wipe ladybugs off of their arms to get them into the plants. Some bugs fell on the pathway.
“Pick them up and put them in the garden. Save them! Save them! Save them!” ordered teacher Kim Le.
One bug wouldn’t get off of Guadalupe Alfaro, 8, at first, but then it flew away.
“Ladybugs like me,” she said.
Disney uses ladybugs to eat aphids, harmful to the resort’s plants, Schrimsher said. During their lifetime, ladybugs can eat between 4,000 and 5,000 aphids.
As part of the pest-management program, horticulturalists also use predatory mites and green lacewings. They also spray plants with water, keep dust off of plants and use soap and oils to prevent the spread of dangerous insects. A last resort is using pesticides and insecticides, Schrimsher said.
At Downtown Disney, Wyland, the marine-life artist, taught children to paint and created his own canvas. Wyland’s Clean Water Mobile is open until 7 p.m. for guests to learn about conservation.
Don Hahn, executive producer of “Oceans,” also came to Downtown Disney on the day that the documentary was released. The movie is playing at AMC Theatres here.
See a video about Disneyland Resort’s Earth Day Activities:
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