Do you remember all that frantic ladybird mating back in March (see post)? Well, I saw my first ladybird larva on Tuesday (29 May), in next door’s garden.
I asked ladybird expert Paul Mabbott about it. He said it was probably a 7-spot ladybird at an early (3rd) larval stage (as 7-spot larvae have 8 spots!) Whether it was the result of the mating I’d seen in March was difficult to say:
‘Females are capable of retaining fertilised ova within them for weeks – maybe months. Then there is incubation time once the egg is laid, then several larval stages. Timing for all of these stages can vary with weather (temperature) and, for the larvae, with food availability as well.’
Then yesterday (31 May) I spotted my first 2-spot ladybird of the year, in our valerian. Close inspection revealed another, larger, one (presumably a female) in the same plant.
Are the two destined to meet? (It’s a large plant – they could miss each other!) Will there be a happy ending to this tale? Should I be on the look out for 2-spot larvae in the next few months? Only time will tell …