Interestingly, the first individual records that have been found in the
One of the events I’ve been recording on a regular basis over the years is my first sighting of ladybirds. I first noticed back in 2008 that some were hibernating in a small conifer in our front garden. On the first, warm, sunny days of the year I would see them sunning themselves, at first in small groups, and eventually over the years in much larger numbers.
I first noted in my diary in March 2009 that I’d seen a new type of ladybird ‘sunbathing’ with them- I hoped at the time that it wasn’t the harlequin ladybird which had reached the
On the 4 March 2011 I counted an amazing 100 ladybirds on the conifer warming themselves in the spring sunshine. Finally, on the 23 February this year, with the weather an un-seasonally balmy 18 degrees, I definitely (and sadly) spotted a harlequin ‘invader’ amongst them.
Apparently, seven out of eight of our native ladybird species have declined over the last five years following the arrival of these ‘invaders’ - the problem is they out-compete with other ladybirds for prey and habitat, and even eat their native cousins.
The UK-Ladybird Survey (which aims to facilitate the recording of all the
ladybirds) is currently monitoring their spread across UK and
assessing its impact - so it's really important to record any sightings you
have on their website. Britain
I can’t help but think of the old nursery rhyme when I think of them: ‘Ladybird, ladybird fly away home’. Realistically I know it’s too late for that, lets just hope that through monitoring the situation something can eventually be done to help further the decline.