Friday, 8 January 2010

Ladybird, ladybird


I've been painting the bedroom. So you can tell how snowed in we are. I can't do anything outside, I can't really go anywhere, everything's frozen solid, so I'm reduced to interior decor.

Anyway, I was getting on pretty well, when I noticed that this little group of ladybirds had taken up residence in the corner of the windowframe.  So I painted all up to and around them, but they didn't look like moving. I wondered if I should disturb them, but didn't have the heart to just chuck them out on the snow, maybe I could leave them and come back with a small pot of touch up paint in May when they've gone?

It's not unusual for ladybirds to be around here in winter, indeed they hibernate in our window frames every year at this house, something I've never seen anywhere else I've lived. Clearly they like it here so I decided I would leave them. I'm very keen on ladybirds,  - I'm quite convinced that the very rare appearance of aphids in the garden is at least partially thanks to a healthy population of ladybirds, whose favourite food is greenfly. So I'm perfectly happy to let them hibernate in the window frames for the winter, where they do no damage whatsoever. And it's lovely to see them all on a warm spring day beginning to stir and gradually wandering off.

But then another thought occured to me. Are these ladybirds our native British ones or are they the dreaded Harlequin ladybird from Europe which has been spotted all over the UK in the last few years, and has a voracious appetite and a tendency to eat our native species. And if they are Harlequins what should I do about them? Should I get out the Flit spray and the Dyson? Not really, but after a brief perusal of internet wildlife sites I was non the wiser really, so taking my life in my hands in the sub zero temperatures, I opened the bedroom windows  to check the usual hibernation areas and there they all were cosily tucked up in the window frames fast asleep. Hundreds of them.


As far as I can tell they are a mixture of Harlequins and native two spot ladybirds, which seems odd to me, but  I suppose I will just leave them to it as usual, and hope for the best. If anyone out there is a ladybird expert and can tell me for sure which they are and what if anything I should do I'd love to know.

8 comments:

  1. This is amazing! I can't say that I've ever seen ladybugs (as we call them in the States) hibernating before. Very fascinating. Do keep us posted on them. (Oh, and I like the white paint color. I'm planning to go white soon, too!)

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  2. They do look like Harelquins, can you send the photo to you local or bearest zoo, or maybe museum? Perhaps DEFRA! I found these images http://images.google.co.nz/images?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&channel=s&hl=en&source=hp&q=harlequin+ladybirds&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=y8tHS9jSNsuLkAWO27zxAg&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CCsQsAQwAw

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  3. I love ladybugs and used to play with them in the 1940's in the corn field and sing them the ladybug song and shoo them home.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladybird_Ladybird

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  4. I've got loads hibernating in my porch :) Ilove them too, though there have been so many this summer!

    I remember going to the coast as a small child last time there was a big population surge and seeing the walls covered in them, basking in the sun. They are kind of cute and I never want to disturb the ones I find at this time of year.

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  5. I've never seen anything like this before, huddled together in all their diversity. So Thank you so, so much for sharing and amazing me. I think they are all beautiful, so nice to see a bit of colour this time of the year.

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  6. Amy Blogs - will keep you posted about the ladybirds and the decor!thanks for commenting

    SJ&M Yes I'm coming to that conclusion as well

    Callie, - that's so sweet!

    安室 - Thanks for your comment, but I'm afraid I can't translate it, please stop by again.

    Lexi - No it doesn't seem right to disturb them does it? Thanks for the comment

    Mangocheeks - Thanks for commenting, glad you like them.

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  7. I've never seen anything like this either - it's amazing. Also haven't yet noted any Harlequins, so useful to know what to watch out for. My husband thinks they are definitely Harlequins - all of them, but general advice is that killing them is a waste of time - they are here for keeps.

    Looking at the picture of your mischievous duck am reminded how much I'm missing duck eggs at the moment - both of my sources have dried up.

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  8. I have ladybirds hibernating in my porch but I see there are spiders webs either ver near them or actually on one cluster. I sthere anything I can do? I assume the webs are spiders and not from the ladybirds. Should I gently wipe away the webs and try to destroy the spiders if I see them? Should I buy a ladybird nesting tbox or is it too late?

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