For the last 15 years, Adelphi University's grounds crew has used organic fertilizer and natural pest control, which includes the regular release of ladybugs.

For the last 15 years, Adelphi University’s grounds crew has forgone the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides in favor of organic fertilizer and natural pest control, which includes the regular release of ladybugs. Robert Conaghan, grounds crew manager and associate director of facilities management, notes that the use of ladybugs is one part of ensuring the good health of the lawns, trees and shrubs on Adelphi’s 75-acre campus in Garden City.

The ladybugs, about 18,000 in each of four shipments launched on campus greenery in June and July, each eat about 50 aphids or other pests a day, or 5,000 in their lifetime. Aphids infest trees and shrubs, causing damage or death over time.

“We do have a few weeds and clover in our lawns, but that’s okay,” Conaghan said. “I would rather see a student lying on the grass looking at a rabbit eating clover or a bee feeding on a dandelion than wondering if the poison that was applied last week is causing them any harm.”

The cost of the beneficial beetles is less than half that of chemicals. The Adelphi grounds crew also regularly tests the soil, adding organic matter to keep the soil healthy. They reseed as necessary and properly irrigate, which keeps the lawns and landscape green—as well as green in the environmental sense.

Adelphi’s campus is also a registered arboretum and includes nearly 70 different types of trees and shrubs—see more on the University website. The organic approach to grounds care is part of Adelphi’s larger green efforts to support a healthy environment in energy generation and use, recycling, building operations, and technology initiatives. See for more.

Area news media shared Adelphi’s lady bug story widely, including features in Innovate LI and Newsday — along with PIX11 TV News in New York City. 

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e –

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