The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, with the help of local Third grade students, celebrated Earth Day on Monday, April 22nd, by releasing 72,000 ladybugs, a type of beetle, inside the 500 store complex as a pesticide-free and non-toxic natural insect control tactic.
The MoA has repeatedly fought against an overgrowth of aphids among the more than 30,000 native and tropical plants currently used to purify the malls air. Adult and larval ladybugs are omnivores that eat other insects, and certain plants. Aphids are part of their diet.
Lydell Newby, Senior Manager of Environmental Services at MoA, believes ladybugs are a “biological defense system.” Each ladybug can eats thousands of aphids without harming the mall’s plant life. Once the ladybugs lose their food source, usually within two weeks, they die off. As a result, the mall doesn’t experience an infestation of these natural aphid killers. A spokesperson for the mall emphasized that MoA has released ladybugs for several years now with no negative impact to the mall or shoppers.
Mall of America is well known for supporting “green” spaces. Recycling is required within the facility and passive solar heating is utilized.