Invasion of the Ladybirds

If ladybirds landing on you are traditionally a sign of good fortune to come, I wonder what the latest invasion of hundreds of them coming to hibernate in my bedroom means? Probably not much as I have evicted the majority of them! However, there is something rather special when a wild creature, however small, chooses to associate closely with you and without fear.
Now I appreciate that a small bug like creature is not exactly prone to a shaking attack of nerves when a human face peers closely at it – not even mine – but they must have some sense of concern when we recite the children’s rhyme “Ladybird, ladybird fly away home”, surely?
. .
Having realised that they are likely to get ‘crunched’ once the window is shut, they moved further indoors following one another in single file. Of some concern, was the number of Harlequin ladybirds, a foreign invader originally from the Far East but brought here to Britain on plant imports via the USA. These only arrived in the country as recently as 2004 and are now found in every English county, much of Wales and beginning to colonise Scotland. Of the four ladybirds in the picture above only the top one is our native Seven-spot Ladybird.

I know it’s a bedroom but I really don’t think I want this Harlequin to perform in front of the neighbours! As, to my knowledge, they don’t hybridise with our native species I suspect that this Seven-spot was about to become a tasty snack. This photo really makes you appreciate the difference in size between the two species.


Having reached a suitable corner they begin to jostle for position, gradually forming a tight clump where they remain during the colder days and nights. Strangely, the central heating system has no effect on this dormancy, whereas a return to milder conditions outside makes the colony disperse around the room to reform at a later time.
Now a tight cluster, these groups began to hold several hundred individuals. It was then (and without even bothering to take a photograph, very remiss) that the eviction process began until just a few dozen – which we consider manageable and charming – remained. Despite claiming not to be remotely superstitious, for safety’s sake I did recite the traditional chant.
“Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, for your house is on fire and your children will burn”
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6 thoughts on “Invasion of the Ladybirds

  1. Oh dear we get them too…and those asian ones stink when they die…and they bite!they come out when the shower goes on or the fan is switched on…truly a cursesorry we spread them to youBut who spread them to us?I'm reading a cozy mystery seriesAgatha Raisin..M.C.Beaton authorTakes place in the Cotswold..I'm sure it is not an accurate depiction of where you are..but it is a funy series on the village life

  2. They are beautiful little insects but a bit of a nuisance when they come inside. In my youth I collected insects and still have a portion them. One portion being a fine display of Ladybirds collected during my travels around the world. There are over 40 different colour combinations, spots and no spots in the collection, which I'm sure is a small portion of what is still out there in the wild.

  3. Well I think you are blessed to have them, really I do. However, maybeeeee not in the bedroom. I'd be checking the sheets constantly))). Must say, your post reminded me, usually we have a lot finding shelter in the summerhouse and we haven't this year. That's a shame..I rather liked having them keep me company. Perhaps they are just hiding till spring. Thanks for this, really enjoyed it.

  4. Thanks for your comments.I have never read the book, Suz. Perhaps I ought to try and find a copy and see how near to fact it is!I was surprised, Doc, at just how many different sorts of ladybirds there are. We have over 40 different sorts just here in the UK alone. I can recognise three types so have some learning to do.Thanks Bren for your kind comment too.Johnson

  5. I have understood that they are not true 'Ladybirds', we call them 'Lady Bugs'. A Lady Bug is the only bug I like. These come in our house also, congregate around the windows and doors in the sunshine. Many do get smashed—I shoo some of them outdoors and sometimes I vacume them up.

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