Monday, 24 November 2008

Invasion

We seem to be in the middle of a house-invasion. Whilst on my way to bed the other night I noticed something strange near the top of the bedroom curtains...



Closer inspection revealed it to be a cluster of ladybirds. Having a party? Bring on the mojitos!



What a beautiful group! All those different colours and patterns. As I watched, another one was running along the top of the window to join them. I intercepted it for closer inspection.



Within the next minute there was a noise inside the lampshade and yet another ladybird flew out, coming in to land on my jewellery box - perhaps in a desperate attempt at camouflage? This one seems to be an inversion of the regular colours, having red spots on black wings.




Had these been any other insects (flies, ants, etc) I probably would have embarked on a brief but violent killing-spree, but there's something quite charming about ladybirds and I could never bring myself to squish one. So, with the aid of a handy bookmark, I gently removed them one by one and flicked them out of the window to fly off and congregate elsewhere.


I had a vague recollection from a few years back that British ladybirds were being threatened by an aggressive and invasive species, and I have just done some brief research... it seems that the Harlequin Ladybird is the culprit, an invader from Asia which is causing untold damage to many native insects, and indeed plants. This news story is from 2005. I have now done my duty and reported my sightings to the 'Harlequin Ladybird Survey', complete with photos for identification... but now I'm wondering whether I should have squished them after all?!