A host of hibernating harlequins

At this time of year the sun-warmed brick walls of the house become a magnet for harlequin ladybirds in search of a place to hibernate.

The wooden window frames prove irresistible, and clusters of shiny red and black bodies begin to accumulate in large numbers.

But left inside, the ladybirds are likely to suffer from lack of food and dessication.  The kindest thing to do is to move them outside.

The garden has been undergoing a transformation, but we’ve been careful to keep a few undisturbed areas for its wildlife to abscond to.  The ladybirds will be transported to an area with plenty of dead leaves, twigs and bark, to re-group and see-out the winter together.  It’s a risk, but also a reminder of the resilience with which even the tiniest of life-forms are blessed.

Although harlequin ladybirds are an invasive species, their domination is so apparent in these parts that there is little to do but welcome their voracious appetites.  Sightings of native ladybirds here are few.

For more information about ladybirds and to record sightings of harlequins, visit the UK Ladybird Survey website at http://www.ladybird-survey.org/default.aspx

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