Thursday 18 November 2010

Ladybird Alert (2): Not a Harlequin, this time

Seven-Spotted Ladybird

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
I know I have a Minibug House on my list for Santa, but I may well cover all options and have a go at making one, too, as soon as some corrugated cardboard comes into the house.

If you have posted any Ladybirds recently, let me know and I'll add a link.


Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

Those are great links Caroline - maybe next year I'll make something for the little ladybirds. I hardly saw one this year and I think that they would already be in hibernation up here as we have had alot of frosts already.

I only have a lacewing hotel in my backgarden - I hope I have guests!

Crafty Green Poet said...

ladybirds are wonderful, good links you've shared here too!

Nature Rambles said...

Hi Caroline, I haven't really read up on ladybirds to be able to identify their names. Your posts are amazing! I'd like to check out your links later.