Lady bug explosion!

A few weeks ago, I was considering using pyrethrin to combat a white fly infestation. I'm glad I hesitated, because I could have wiped out a huge population of lady bugs!

I noticed some activity on my asparagus patch, where I discovered all stages of the lady bug present in large numbers.
lady bug larva

larva and pupa
adult
This, I cannot explain: there is a sticky, smelly substance on the plants--is it a ladybug excretion? The dead branches could be coincidental, but I have read that lady bugs can emit a foul odor.
Some of the color in the background is asparagus berries, but you can see the numbers here.
Now get to work, guys!