Ladybirds

Since starting the Sustainable Living Project we have been very careful to do all in our power to make our garden a haven for wildlife. This is an end in itself, and who doesn’t want  see lots of fantastic creatures in their garden?  But it is also about creating a natural balance that will complement our organic veg growing endeavours.  In all honesty if we did absolutely nothing the garden would be a wonderful place for wildlife, but once you start cultivating you do have to make a bit of an effort to maintain the balance between a desire for tidiness and order (not to mention food for yourself) and making sure you don’t drive out beneficial wildlife.  We leave areas purposely untidy, and yes sometimes we just haven’t go round to clearing so we’re making a virtue out of laziness! We have ensured that we provide habitats for all sorts of creatures, making our fedge for instance was really good fun, and we have planted flowers and shrubs that will provide food and shelter for a range of wildlife.  We certainly don’t use chemicals that might damage wildlife.  Our intentions might be good, but sometimes nature will just do it’s own thing regardless of your intentions.  Take these wooden finials, I stuck them on the corners of the raised beds as a sort of decorative afterthought some time last year, but a certain species of ladybird has decided this is the best in nursery care you can get, and they are covered in spiny black pupae.

I have to say I didn’t recognise the pupae at first, it wasn’t the same as others that I’ve seen, and I wasn’t sure what to make of this spotless, almost translucent looking little bug.  I kept watching them, it seemed the little red ladybird hadn’t quite fully developed and next time I took my camera it had trasnformed into this:

Apparently it is a kidney spot ladybird.  I found this out at The Ladybird Survey organisation who have a very nice child friendly web-site.  They are keen to find out about your ladybird sightings so please visit them, especially if you’ve had experience of the invasive Harlequin ladybird.  I’m hoping that these little black kidney spots, so conveniently located on the raised beds, are as hungry for aphids as other ladybirds.

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2 comments to Ladybirds

  • Fantastic ladybird pictures! Fascinating to see the freshly emerged adult gain it’s adult colour. The ladybird survey website is brilliant, really helpful. I used it quite a bit when our garden had a harlequin invasion last year. This year we have mostly seven spots and 22 spots and the dreaded harlequins are not in such huge numbers. I like to think they won’t be as damaging as people fear (and they are incredibly efficient at polishing off blackfly). Only time will tell I suppose.

  • goo

    Yes, I agree I’m always uncertain as to whether something is alien necessarily means it’s a bad thing – it’s all about balances at the end of the day I guess.

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