Kids celebrate Earth Day, release buckets of ladybugs inside Mall of America

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — To celebrate Earth Day, the largest mall in the U.S. decided that the best way to eliminate insect pests was to release ladybugs -- thousands of them.

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Children dumped buckets of ladybugs early Friday at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, KARE-TV reported. The ladybugs were set free on the live plants at the mall’s Nickelodeon Universe, according to the television station.

Setting ladybugs loose has been a tradition at the mall for nearly 30 years, WCCO-TV reported.

The bugs are known to prey on plant-eating insects such as aphids, mites and leafhoppers. According to the mall’s website, more than 100,000 ladybugs are released onto the facility’s more than 30,000 plants.

“This allows for biological control as the aphids are attracted to jasmine shrubs and Abicolas,” mall officials wrote on their website.

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Mall officials said they pride themselves on the 5.6 million-square-foot facility’s commitment to being environmentally friendly, KARE reported.

The mall recycles more than 60% of its waste and send more than 2,400 tons of food to a local hog farm, according to the television station. The mall’s temperature is set at 70 degrees and uses passive solar energy from skylights. More than 5,400 LED bulbs are used in the mall’s parking ramps to reduce energy costs, KARE reported.