I hadn't seen a Ladybird for ages until last week when I saw my first Harlequin. Then on Saturday we were out in Carmarthenshire, when we encountered this creature. I wondered if it was heading towards the crack in the wooden gate post, with an eye to hibernation. Mind you, I'm not sure that it would actually have fitted!
The Seven-Spotted Ladybirds has flame-coloured elytra. It is known as Coccinella septempunctata, for obvious reasons. Here in the UK, there are concerns that the Harlequin is ravishing the key food supplies of its seven-spotted cousin.You can see a selection of Ladybirds here, sporting their spots and stripes. Ladybird guides can be bought here.
Homes are often not the best choice of winter residence for the Ladybird, as the warmth tends to wake them from hibernation at a time of the year when aphids are few and far between (and rarely indoors, in any case). There are several ways to encourage Ladybirds to inhabit your garden, though. You might like to consider one of the following options:
- Making a recycled Ladybird Hotel for the Winter - instructions here
- Making a de luxe Ladybird Hotel/Stack - instructions here
- Buying a Minibug House from a charity like the RSPB, to benefit wildlife twice over - here
If you have posted any Ladybirds recently, let me know and I'll add a link.