Ladybird, Ladybird

Ladybird Coccinella undecimpunctata
Ladybird Coccinella undecimpunctata

In these distant isles ladybirds are rare gems. Every year I search the garden and polytunnel for these beneficial beetles, whose larvae gobble aphids at a prodigious rate, and I’m lucky if I find one or two.
Whether it is for reasons of geography, climate or an unpredictable food supply we only find the 11-spot ladybird (Coccinella undecimpunctata) in the Uists. This is a coastal species often associated with dry areas and an uncommon in Britain, particularly in the north.
So after a back-breaking session on a very warm afternoon, I was overjoyed to find a ladybird on a fence post and then another. I was quite tempted to kidnap them and put them on my aphid infested aubergines! I reluctantly left them to enjoy the sunshine and slowly ambled away to collect my tools which as usual were scattered around the garden. At the end of the day I’m always reluctant to return to my domestic chores – rather like a child being told to stop playing and put they toys away. However, on the fruit cage I found some more ladybirds – 10, 20 and more and more! In the end we counted over 500! Absolutely amazing – I’d read about ladybird swarms (usually 7-spot ladybirds) on the south coast of England – but up here in the islands – staggering.
So on another perfect day we’re out and about and I shall be looking for ladybirds. This has been an amazing summer and the wildlife has been outstanding – dare I say gold medal winning performances!

7 thoughts on “Ladybird, Ladybird

  1. GREAT photo! Is that a thistle, or sea holly? While thistle is not native to my clearing, I don’t actually have anything against it personally, but sea holly is a favorite — if it is, excellent choice for your setting; if it isn’t, you might consider it…love it.

    • Thanks Calvin, but I have to confess that all the good photos on my blog are taken by Himself.
      The plant is a Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare , it is a common native plant and loved by insects. They grow in abundance on the other side of my garden wall – but I am thinking of adding one of the other Cirsiums to my garden.

  2. Wow! Eleven spots! I’ve never seen such a spotty specimen down here. I must confess that when my beans first showed signs of aphids I did kidnap a few ladybirds that were sunbathing and re-homed them! They’re great friends in the garden and I’m so pleased you’re having a good summer.

    • We’re still enjoying tremendous weather and still sort of rain! Perhaps the ladybirds came for some sunshine?

  3. I have never seen a swarm of ladybugs. What am amazing thing to count 500 of them! I feel the same way about having to come inside. I would love to have a housekeeper so I could just play outside all day! 🙂

    • I was so surprised to see more than two that i just couldn’t stop counting! They’ve now disappeared – hopefully hiding in my garden making more ladybirds

  4. That is a handsome ladybird. I have a few, but to be honest I’ve never seen them devouring aphids.

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