Wildlife to see in August – Ladybirds
The summer holidays are a great time to get out there and engage with wildlife in your local green spaces (especially as many of us are not going way this summer due to COVID restrictions). Whether it be in your private garden or on our public greens, recreation grounds or footpaths, you will be able to see a Ladybird. These little beetles come in a variety of amazing colours and designs: yellow, black, orange, brown and of course red and most of them have spots. There are 26 different species to look out for, but the 7-spot is very common.
Ladybirds have 4 different stages in their lifecycle: eggs, larva, pupa & beetle. You can find all of these stages on the long grasses and plants around us. The adults will lay the eggs on plants with aphids and scale insects as the larva are voracious predators, which hunt and eat these insects. Ladybirds will also lay infertile eggs, so if the larva cannot find any prey initially, they can eat the infertile eggs as back up.
Ladybirds will overwinter as adults inside the hollow stems of plants so that’s why it is a good idea to not cut back all the old plants in our gardens, so these beetles can have a home during our cold winters. Sometimes Ladybirds come inside our houses, if that does happen, gently encourage them into a jar and put them outside under a hedge during the day, then they can find a more suitable, natural home. Unfortunately, our native Ladybirds are declining due to several reasons including the appearance of a non-native Ladybird called the Harlequin Ladybird coming to the UK, so providing places for our Ladybirds to eat and live is very important to support them.
Things you can do to help ladybirds:
Leave some nettles and wild tall grasses in your garden
Plant flat topped flowers e.g. yarrow, angelica, fennel, dill
Build a Ladybird Hotel