Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Fly away home, ie to Minneapolis and places like that

Apologies to moth purists, but after yesterday's Focus on Slugs, we have ladybirds today. This is prompted by scrolling back through the blog, idly, and coming across a reference in November to the number of big black ladybirds we were getting. I promised to return to the subject but never did. So now I will.

For some reason, the ladybird became a symbol of our house in Leeds, long ago. We nailed a couple of those jumbo wall-decoration ones up in the Virginia creeper, my younger son painted a huge one on our burglar alarm and there are various cuddly or pottery ones indoors. I can't remember why.

Anyway, the real things latched on some years ago, and now they are everywhere. Their numbers have also vastly increased with the unstoppable spread of the American cousins. It's grey and red squirrels all over again, and I few that the daintier English versions have little chance. Not that all the American ones escape our spiders; see picture below. Yes, our bedroom does need redorating.

Maybe the two species will mate and produce a middling compromise. In the meanwhile, one slightly reassuring thing is that red ladybirds are holding their own in terms of numbers, even if they are American (sorry Sarah, Banished and other US-based readers; I love America, I promise). You can read lots of interesting stuff on this website about ladybirds in general and the US invasion in particular. Here in conclusion is one of the many foraging ladybirds which leave the window clusters, examing my swimming trunks.


sarah meredith said...

Well what do you know? All this time, I was thinking that somehow our farm must be something of a spa destination for all the world's ladybugs and since a sighting of a single ladybug when I was a child was deemed good luck, then our farmhouse - with its hordes of them lolling about in the corners of the ceilings - must be the luckiest place in the world. But now things have become clear. We must be running something of a training camp for the troops headed eastward! Actually, now that I think about it, our bugs are rather bellicose in their own way. Weekends during fly season (we also have a mysterious and less appealing infestation of millions of flies from time to time) we often find evidence of mighty battle between the ladybugs and the flies when we open the house with the ladybugs seeming victorious. So thank you Martin. Another mystery of nature explained.

MartinWainwright said...

LadyBUGS! I should have remembered. They are certainly bugging people here, but I take the resigned view that Darwinism will take its course...

Mainly, I want them to go outside now that it's warmer. I think they bite me when I'm asleep but Penny isn't convinced. Maybe it's her.

Lots of love from both of us. After a rainy spell, the trap is lit again tonight.

xx M & P